“Adventure means exposing yourself to the world out there.” — Naked Soul
Who Are You
Are you just a label or an epic story or a fun saga? Is your life “out-of-box” and is it evolving?
We make a life by what we give, experience, build and learn. Each year of our life is either a sentence or a paragraph. Or it can be a full chapter or even a book in itself. We decide how our life is recorded in the eyes of the ancient stars of the faraway galaxies.
We decide which adventures we embark upon and which ones we finish. Adventures do not mean walking on a high wire or sleeping on a bed of nails or eating fire.
Adventure means exposing yourself to the world out there – in its wildness, rawness – experiencing its unadulterated originality.
Adventure means getting in touch with your inner-self, knowing thyself.
Now, over to you.
Who are you? And, what are you going to do with your life? Please leave your thoughts and life missions in the comment below.
In this blog, I am simply sharing some of the quotes from The Naked Soul. Read, think, ponder, enjoy and share with your friends.
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Which one is your favorite quote from December? If you want to add your interpretation or explanation to these quotes, please feel free to add in the comments below.
Six humans trapped by happenstance In bleak and bitter cold. Each one possessed a stick of wood Or so the story’s told.
Their dying fire in need of logs The first man held his back For of the faces round the fire He noticed one was black.
The next man looking cross the way Saw one not of his church And couldn’t bring himself to give The fire his stick of birch.
The third one sat in tattered clothes. He gave his coat a hitch. Why should his log be put to use To warm the idle rich?
The rich man just sat back and thought Of the wealth he had in store And how to keep what he had earned From the lazy shiftless poor.
The black man’s face bespoke revenge As the fire passed from his sight. For all he saw in his stick of wood Was a chance to spite the white.
The last man of this forlorn group Did nought except for gain. Giving only to those who gave Was how he played the game.
Their logs held tight in death’s still hands Was proof of human sin. They didn’t die from the cold without They died from the cold within.
Notes from me:
The idea of the American dream is rooted in the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence which states that “all men are created equal” and that they have “certain inalienable rights” including “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
All men are created equal.
The poem, however, at its time was the criticism on racism in American culture. If your heart is cold, nothing from the world can make you warm.
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How do you interpret this poem? Have you read this before? If you would like to share some thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I would love to read it. If you would like me to expand this post, please let me know what would you like me to describe in greater details?
This book is a collection of erotic poems from around the world that spans various time periods and locales. It includes such famous erotic poets as Ovid, Octavio Paz, Lord Byron, and John Keats among others.
The poems contained in this anthology are sensual and romantic with hints of erotic love which is evident in verses from poems such as “The Quiet Glades of Eden” by Robert Graves and “Three Poems” by Bharthari.
If it should please you, for your own best reasons,To take me and flog me with a rawhide whipI might (who knows?) surprisingly acceptThis earnest of affection
Bharthari writes in one of his poems:
A hundred times they kiss, and thenA thousand times embraceAnd stop only to start again;There’s no tautology in such a case.
Many of the poems contain physical imagery with references to the breasts, lips, and eyes that allow the reader to get a sense of the appearance of the lover. Allusions to sex abound without explicit descriptions of sexual intercourse.
In this collection, the editor, Peter Washington, has compiled a series of poems that allows the reader to truly feel the complex emotions of romantic relationships. The animalistic nature of sex was explored in some of the poems. This allows the book to serve as an excellent representation of the passion and intimacy of loving relationships.
The main critiques however of this anthology are that the poets are primarily male with very few female poets and that many of the poets are foreign. Even the translators of poems by foreign poets generally were male.
There were very few American poets. Peter Washington also did not select many modern poems so some of the references in the poems are not easily understood.
Despite these critiques, this book serves as a good introduction to different poets and may inspire the reading audience to select more works of poetry by these poets.
They are poems that can be read alone or to your romantic partner as they are sensual, romantic, and intensely visual so readers could visualize the settings of the poems.
This anthology of erotic poems includes poems that as the title alludes to are more in the erotic spirit than being explicitly erotic. These poems are poems that enlighten readers about love and relationships and allow for a greater understanding of the necessities of an enduring and passionate relationship.
In this compilation, the editor, Sam Hamill, has organized a collection of poems that are diverse in voice (both ethnically and gender-wise). What was interesting was the inclusion of poets that are not as well-known.
However, this does not mean that major poets are not included. Some of the more famous poets in this collection include Ovid, Catullus, Sappho, Ono No Komachi, Rumi, Emily Dickinson, and Walt Whitman.
Several poets have numerous poems included in the book which allows the reader to become more familiar with the differences in their writing styles.
What makes this collection stand out is its abundance of poems by Asian poets and the beautiful allusions in these poems to the physical nature of intimacy, the seasons, and the majesties of nature including references to lotus blossoms and moonlight.
The poems in this anthology are filled with the complex feelings of love including the sense of yearning for a loved one, despair, and loss. It is also a very cohesive body of poems that are organized by time period so readers can see how authors have depicted passionate relationships throughout the years. This is certainly a poetry collection worth recommending for those who wish to have a great introduction to a wonderful variety of poets.
This collection of erotic poems was a well-organized anthology that included a mix of classic and modern American poems including such classic erotic poems as “I Sing the Body Electric” and “Lifting Belly”.
The poems were organized by the author’s year of birth which allowed readers to visualize the evolution of romantic poetry from the 19th century to the present.
David Lehman, the editor, included such celebrated American poets as Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, E. E. Cummings, and Edna St. Vincent Millay and more obscure poets such as H. Phelps Putnam and Emma Lazarus.
The poems in this anthology were more difficult to understand as many were concrete in nature. This led to the subliminal messages to be not as easily comprehended by the average reader. This is the main critique of this collection. However, despite this, it was interesting to read modern erotic poems that told rich stories.
What was unique about this book was that the poems were much more explicit in nature with some veering on the pornographic. The poems in this book were very romantic and personified aspects of the sexual experience. Lehman also included poems with homosexual sexual relationships which showed the diversity of romantic relationships.
There were many poems by women which allowed readers to have a unique perspective on how gender impacted sexual experiences. Other books reviewed previously did not have such a diverse assemblage of voices.
This is a collection of poems worth recommending for those who would enjoy reading modern carnal poems about love, lust, passion, and sexual intimacy.
Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis, Reginald Martin, and Roseann P. Bell
This was a unique collection of erotic poems, stories, and essays by Latin American, and Caribbean-American men and women of African descent.
It is a very well-organized collection that was divided into sections according to the subject matter of the writing. It provides lengthy and comprehensive perspectives on the everyday intimate experiences of blacks. Intermingled throughout were insightful academic commentaries that helped the reader to understand more about black erotica, music, and culture.
There was a great diversity of voices in this book including a good balance of male and female authors. The authors reflected on the spiritual aspects of sexual experiences; the effects music had on their sexual experiences; and the beginnings of new sexual relationships among other topics.
The poetry in this book was very erotic and explicit with a mix of longer poems and haikus. This was truly a special anthology as the writers were great storytellers who allowed readers to visualize the experiences that were documented within the book.
This was a cohesive body of work that was very carnal and explicit in nature but also sensual and passionate. The writing could be concrete at times and it was interesting to read different interpretations of the sexual experience by the black population. This is certainly a book worth recommending for those who want a close study of the intricacies of black erotica.
This was a well-translated and beautiful collection of ancient Japanese love poems by two court poets that were passionate and full of desire. These short but deep poems were verses that expressed the longing that the poets felt for their lovers. Although the poems were brief, they were very emotional.
The verses contained rich imagery that allowed readers to visualize the settings of the poems. Many of the poems in this book took place at night as the poets reflected on the moonlight and nights spent with their romantic partner.
The seasons played a role in several of the poems as many reflected on autumn and leaves falling.
The depiction of the changing seasons served as an ode to the passage of time in the course of a relationship. Some poems were mildly erotic and many were very intimate. The painful and bitter nature of romance was explored in some poems.
This collection showed that even long ago, the feelings of love have not changed significantly. These poems contain the same emotional weight of more contemporary love poems. This is truly a collection worth reading for those who wish to read meaningful love poems that have withstood the test of time.
This was an enticing collection of lesbian love poems by modern poets. The poems in this book were organized by the author which allowed the reader to read different perspectives on intimacy and the passions of homosexual relationships.
These were very personal poems that enlightened readers on who the poet really is in their most private moments. Some poems were mildly erotic in nature.
What was special about this book was the rich storytelling of the poems contained within. The poems contained descriptive imagery and made even the most everyday moments worth savoring. The poets were very accepting of the imperfections of their lovers and revealed in the beauties of the female physique.
What is worth noting is that the poems do discuss prejudice against lesbianism and interracial relationships which are still issues that pervade our current society. This book was published almost twenty years ago so there was even deeper prejudice back then.
There are some guilt and shame by the female lovers depicted but also a sense of an undying love that could withstand the hatred and oppression that society had for these types of relationships.
This was a spiritual body of work that contained poems that were filled with longing and very introspective in nature. The poems were beautifully translated by Coleman Barks and before each section began he insightfully commented on each thematic section and included personal anecdotes on the wisdom obtained from speaking to religious teachers.
Rumi’s poems are very abstract and deep with powerful musings on the majesty and beauties of love. They spoke to the healing power of love and the desire and lust that love added to one’s life.
The poems in this book were full of natural metaphors and many Middle Eastern references that were difficult to understand. Despite this critique, Barks was able to compile a wonderful assortment of poems by this great Sufi mystic.
The poems were primarily about the lingering presence of love in one’s life and just how incredible a presence it is.
Rumi was a great storyteller and his stories enlighten readers with the wisdom of his life’s experiences. His poems were very passionate and filled with the enjoyment of spiritual and earthly pleasures. This collection is highly recommended for lovers of more soulful poems that have withstood the test of time.
The Erotic Verse of the Sixth Dalai Lama & translations by Paul Williams
This brief collection was rich in natural imagery and showed just how much love could affect you physically. The short verses in this book were poems that yearned for love. They truly depicted how love could be taken away in a heartbeat.
The young lovers in this book did not always have the fortune of lasting relationships so it was evident that love should be valued when it is possessed.
Paul Williams beautifully translated the verse of the esteemed sixth Dalai Lama and allowed readers to be enlightened by the wisdom of such a holy figure.
Clearly, this Dalai Lama had experienced the many facets of love and had sadly lamented many times a lost love. His intimate reflections allowed the reader to glean great insight into his most personal moments such as his feelings at the beginning of a new relationship.
The main critiques of this collection were that it was far too brief and that some translations were not easily understood by the average reader. In addition, the verse could often be very abstract in nature so the latent meanings of these poems were difficult to interpret. Despite these critiques, this was a deeply poignant and spiritual body of work.
This translated work that compiled all of Sappho’s fragmented verses in one collection allowed the reader to get a sense of the rich life experiences of this renowned Greek poet.
The variety of portions of her verse contained pleas to the Greek gods, goddesses, and muses for the safety of her family and companions. It was evident that Sappho was close to many and truly valued her beloved companions.
What was unfortunate about having only segmented verse though was the sense of losing the deeper meanings of her verse. The translator explained the missing pieces of her verses in her introduction by stating that none of Sappho’s poems existed in full.
The fragments though led to a disjointed reading experience. Another critique was the obscure references to ancient Greek cities and temples that without the help of the book’s glossary were not easily understood.
Despite these major critiques, this was a beautiful collection of verse on many topics but primarily on the love that Sappho had for her romantic partners who were often female. The stanzas revered the female physique and appearance.
Her poetry though was often introspective in nature and full of complex emotions about the women she loved. They were passionate poems full of fervent desire for her companions.
This complete collection is recommended for those who want to read the full range of Sappho’s writings that was made very accessible for modern readers by the translator.
This book beautifully translated from its original Spanish is an intimate collection of sonnets dedicated to Neruda’s beloved wife, Matilde.
It was evident in reading this book that Neruda passionately loved his wife and was very emotional about the thought of her death. The sonnets in this book were numbered and organized according to the time of day the poem was set in.
These poems were full of deep feelings and mildly erotic in nature when he described the beauties of his wife’s physical being.
He loved her not only for her pleasant appearance but also for her imperfections. Many of the poems alluded to the peacefulness of nature and her sense of oneness with the earth.
Pablo Neruda and his wife had both had similar humble upbringings that laid the foundation for their future. He alluded to the poverty of their former lives and how it brought them closer together.
Theirs was a happy marriage bound to last eternally. Although some poems had dark undertones particularly the ones set in the darkness of night, the poems set during the light of day reflected his abiding love of nature.
This book was an eloquently worded ode to the multifaceted aspects of love and is perfect for reading with your romantic partner. There is little to critique about this book except for its mentions of places the reader may not be familiar with.
Since this my own book, therefore to present an objective review, I will let Kirkus review speak for Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems.
Jha’s collection of concise, warm, and erotic poetry explores the delights of physical love from (primarily heterosexual) male and female perspectives.
The bulk of these poems describe various acts of sexual congress in non-explicit ways while trying to capture the rich emotional tenor of lovemaking as opposed to casual sex. Just feel the words because “these poems are written not to be understood by the mind but to be felt by the heart”, Jha writes.
He switches between male and female perspectives, describing the joys of being taken and taking. Love Fantasies seems to describe a heterosexual woman’s experience: Then I ride it like a cowgirl to reach as far as I can be. / I hustle, I shake, I grind, I wind, I go deep / where there is only one path and one way to be.
Elsewhere, Wake Up has a decidedly more heterosexual male perspective: You slide me down / Into the wetness / Even before / I am awake.
Many of the poems, such as One Soul and Soul Mate, focus on the feeling of love itself, absent any particular physical expression. The text is peppered with simple line drawings of sex, like a slideshow of soft-core Kama Sutra.
Jha manages to sketch the outlines of sex and love without making it too concrete or specific. The poems shifting points of view create a sensual atmosphere that encourages the reliving of fond memories and the ignition of current fantasies. Although the language used to describe anatomy can sometimes be clunky or a little too “fruit-oriented” (the melon family makes many appearances), the spirit of the work is joyful and tender.
Erotic poetry that evokes feelings of joy, happiness, and an overall celebration of the arts of physical and romantic love.
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Was this post helpful to you in deciding which books you might want to read next? Do you have suggestions, tips or your own reviews to share? If yes, please feel free to share your thoughts or question(s) with us? Please leave your thoughts and input in the comments below.
Truthfully speaking, I have been as excitable as a chef just before the Thanksgiving! My debut collection of erotic love poems was published in eBook on January 23 and I have sold just over 100 eBooks in the first month alone.
The softcover was released on January 9th and is also doing excellent. So far it has sold over 150 copies. The big sales number came right before the Valentine’s Day. (No surprise there.)
Well, 100 or 150 might not seem a big number and certainly it is not but what I can tell you is at the time of drafting this blog, my book is at Top #7 in Love Poem and ranked Top #47222 out of 3,000,000+ eBooks on the Amazon Kindle store.
Labor of Love or Fate of Drudgery
The reason I am taking about the sales number and book ranking is because, well, I thought it is worth talking about this ancient curiosity shared by all: “Are all poets penniless?”
Is poetry a labor of love or an occupation of toil and drudgery? I am hoping to bring some perspective and calm to my current â€˜pressure cookerâ€ mind with this current blog. This post is not just a note to myself but a new balanced perspective, something to consider, specially by the writers, poets and all the artists out there.
To start with (and I am not trying to tempt fate here or anything!) I am focusing my attention on a handful of great poets who only achieved fame and wealth after death. Well, some great poets might have died poor but their legacy is certainly richer than many of the rich from the recent times.
Are All Poets Penniless
Years, decades, and even a century or two after their passing, several major literary geniuses (who may have been blessed with the odd peak of recognition while alive) have gone on to have an unimaginable impact on the literary world – dominating classrooms, bookshelves, literati events and book groups, not just Stateside but across the globe.
Let’s take a look at some of these writers and poets.
Emily Dickinson was born in December 1830 in Massachusetts. A sociable youngster who maintained good relationships and friendships throughout her childhood and youth; she began writing poetry in her teens. Itâ€s clearly obvious from her writing that the death of close friends and family members during adolescence strongly influenced her.
Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me; The carriage held but just ourselves And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste, And I had put away My labour, and my leisure too, For his civility.
We passed the school where children played, Their lessons scarcely done; We passed the fields of gazing grain, We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed A swelling of the ground; The roof was scarcely visible, The cornice but a mound.
Since then ’tis centuries; but each Feels shorter than the day I first surmised the horses’ heads Were toward eternity.
Her most intense writing period began in her late twenties and lasted several years, she is said to have written a staggering 1100 poems during this time; some of which she did share with close friends and family, but the majority of which, she kept to herself. Pretty much a recluse by the time she died aged fifty-five in 1886, Dickson had written around 1800 poems. Â It was following her death (and against her dying wishes) that family members decided to publish and share her magnificent work some years on.
John Keats was born in London, England in 1795. The poor guyâ€s short life was plagued by death from an early age â€“ with both parents dying by the time heâ€d reached fourteen. Leaving school aged sixteen, Keats maintained a healthy interest in literature even while working in the medical profession alongside his guardian (a man so deceitful he kept Keatsâ€ large inheritance which heâ€d been entrusted to look after).
Keats penned his first poem during 1816, aged eighteen; his first book called Poems followed during 1817.
A year after abandoning the medical establishment to pursue poetry as a profession, Keatsâ€ life was once again haunted by death when his brother, Tom, contracted and died from Tuberculosis, the same illness which killed his mother.
In 1819, despite mounting financial problems and ill health, Keats was somehow able to write a significant amount of poetry; he also met and fell in love with a young girl called Fanny Brawne. Sadly his wish to marry the eighteenâ€“year-old was never realised due to his lack of finances.Â As if life hadnâ€t been tragic enough for John Keats, in 1820 he too become desperately ill with Tuberculosis. Despite his illness, he managed to publish a second volume of poems. During the same year Keats travelled to Italy hoping the warmer surroundings would help with his illness. Sadly it was not to be, one of the greatest poets to have ever lived, died in February 1821, lowly regarded and poor..
For someone born so long ago (1809) it blows my mind to think that Edgar Allan Poe still courts such influence, interest and popularity over literary and cultural circles today.
And if you thought Keatsâ€ life was tragic, I think Poeâ€s was equally tumultuous â€“ as a baby he was abandoned by his father and when his mother died of tuberculosis during 1811, he was forced to live with foster parents.
Poe, a military man for a brief time before turning his hand to writing full time, is attributed to having invented the detective fiction genre. His name is also synonymous with chilling and macabre poetry and stories.
Like Emily Dickinson, death featured heavily in Poeâ€s work, including in his most famous poem, The Raven.
This poem, by all accounts, turned him into a literary sensation for some time. Unfortunately, maybe because he was a heavy drinker who could no longer hold down a job, he never equalled its success with any of his following work.
Itâ€s been documented that the death of his wife Virginia Clemm (who also just happened to be his cousin, aged thirteen when he married her) exacerbated Poeâ€s drinking. Many conspiracy theories about his death have been circulated, but Poe is reported to have died penniless, dishevelled and unconscious in a Baltimore gutter, aged just forty.
Phillis Wheatlyâ€s life story is equally interesting and heart breaking. Kidnapped from West Africa when she was around seven years old in 1753, she arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, on a slave ship where she was purchased by John Wheatley as a servant for his wife, Susanna, who quickly came to recognize and nurture Phillisâ€ writing talent. The Wheatleys decided not to train Phillis as a slave.
By publishing Poems on various subjects, religion and moral Wheatley made history by becoming the first female African American to publish a book of poems. She even travelled to London, promoting her poetry. I can imagine that for a while her life mustâ€ve felt pretty amazing, especially when compared to the lives of other African Americans at that time. I canâ€t help thinking that things wouldâ€ve had a happier ending for Philllis Wheatley, had Susanna and John Wheatley still been alive after she married.
Wheatly married John Peters in 1778. They lived in poor conditions, but worse, had to endure the death of two infant children. After her husband was imprisoned during 1784, impoverished, Wheatley was left looking after her third child. Sadly, she died young at age thirty-one. Her sick infant son is said to have died a few hours later.
I was thinking of moving on to something a bit more light-hearted, but if you donâ€t mind Iâ€ll get one more â€˜sadâ€ topic out of the way first.
Weâ€re moving on to poets who are persecuted for their writing, as in poets who express opinions in their work, which goes against the establishment of their countries.
The first that I can think of is, Roman poet Ovid, back in 8AD he was banished to Tomis, a remote province on the Black Sea, by the Emperor Augustus, itâ€s difficult to pinpoint the motivation which led to his exile but speculation points to the simple reason that the emperor was unhappy with something the poet had written!
Sadly a similar type of punishment remains commonplace in some societies even in this day and age. Cameroonian poet, political activist and blogger Enoh Meyomesse is currently serving a prison sentence which he maintains is due to personal views expressed in his writing and for his political activism.
Iranian teacher, turned poet, Sabetâ€s translated book Prison Poems was published on April 1, 2013. She wrote this collection while serving (along with other leaders of Iranâ€s *Bahaâ€i community) a twenty year prison sentence in Tehranâ€s Evin prison because of her religious beliefs.
*The Baha’i religion was founded in Iran in 1863, making it one of the world’s youngest religions. This religion accepts all other faiths as true and valid. It also teaches that there should be no inequality when it comes to gender or race.
I am left wondering, what’s not to like? Read her Lights Out poem on this blog.
Successful Poets: What’s their Secret?
I have covered a lot of the tragedies and hardships experienced by poets in this blog, so I want to finish by letting you know:
It’s not all Bad News!
Yes, we can breathe a sigh of relief now as I am happy say that there are many poets and writers do seem to live comfortable and successful lives, many are actually poets who never gave up their day jobs.
It was a huge surprise for me to find out that the author of Alice in Wonderland was actually a Mathematician (who wrote several books on Mathematics under his real name (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson).
Incredibly, he was also a teacher for twenty-six years! Â But he also found time to work on a few inventions too, creating (amongst other things) a device called the nyctograph which allowed for night time writing (presumably with himself in mind because he was so busy during the day doing his other jobs!)
The magnificent Missouri born writer and Harvard graduate settled in England after a spell reading philosophy at a renowned college in Oxford. He wrote his famous poem Prufrock while holding down a job as a bank clerk. After several years in banking he went on to become an editor at publishing house Faber and Faber, where he worked full time for forty years.
Acclaimed poet and also Harvard graduate, Wallace Stevens, published his first book Harmonium in 1923 while working in insurance; an area he would continue in for nearly forty years eventually working his way up to Vice-President of his company by 1934, carrying on in this role even after receiving the prestigious Pulitzer Prize.
The British born poet and novelist Philip Larkin actually managed to sneak in quite a lot of writing while working as a librarian. He graduated from Oxford University with first class honors in English during 1943, then worked for thirty years as a librarian at Hull University, where he is said to have produced a vast quantity of his published work.
So perhaps we are onto something here. Could the secret to keeping yourself from the clutches of poverty lie in having another vocation in life? Should we all, if we haven’t already, add a few more strings to our bows?
Just in case tragedy decides to grab and drop some of us into its murky pool of torture without a second thought, leaving us destitute, penniless and forgotten until the pool is dredged some decades later. (OK, maybe I need to put the Poe books down for now!)
The truth is, there a plenty of writers out there that have second jobs, some connected to writing such as tutoring, lecturing and performance poetry; and as some of the last section shows, others have no connection at all. But I donâ€t think it hurts to have a plan B. Somehow, I can’t imagine Edgar Allan Poe as a doctor or librarian though.
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What do you think about writing as a career? If you have a family to support will you take the risk? Or will you fulfill your calling as a writer or poet? Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
A compilation of 221 erotic poetry books published between 1946-2015. It took a lot of effort to put this list up. If you find a book or title is missing, please comment. If you liked this compilation and found it helpful, please leave me your thoughts in the comments below. Above all, enjoy.
There is perhaps no literary work as tantalizingly erotic as the Kamasutra. When you visualize this book, you may only think of the sexual imagery contained inside.
The truth is that this book while sexual in nature also has a rich history and contains beautiful poetic language.
Kamasutra: A Treatise on Pleasure
Erotic Poetry of Kamasutra
Let us begin by exploring the history of this book before adventuring into its poetic nature.
The book was compiled in the third century by an Indian sage, Vatsyavana. He believed that this text that contained past sexual knowledge helped him to meditate and contemplate the divine.
The book was written in Sanskrit and its translated title means “a treatise on pleasure.”
Senses and pleasures
The book explores pleasure both sexually and intellectually by discussing various topics including Society and Social Concepts; On Sexual Union; About the Acquisition of a Wife; About a Wife; About the Wives of Other Men; About Courtesans; and On the Means of Attracting others to Yourself.
It essentially serves as a crucial primer on the physical and psychological aspects of romance including how men can win over women; what women can do to win over men; the states of a woman’s mind; the role of an intermediary; and why women might reject men.
The book contains charts that organize male and female physical types into categories and show how physically compatible they are with their partner.
The Kama Sutra is considered the first study of sexuality but due to the complexity of the Sanskrit it was written in it was considered obscure.
It was translated into English in the late 19th century by Sir Richard Burton, a well-known linguist, and Arabic translator.
Burton had originally been working on translating a 15th-century revision of the work, the Ananga-Ranga, but wanted to learn more about Vatsyayana who was cited numerous times in the Ananga-Ranga.
He orchestrated the effort to refer back to the Kama Sutra and translate it into English. He fulfilled his desire to publish a Western translation and stimulated widespread interest in India and other countries.
Since then it has been translated numerous times and been published in multiple versions.
The book at first begins analytically as a series of instructions on how a man should live a life dedicated to religious observance and learn to live according to the principles of what is referred to as dharma, artha, and kama.
Dharma is obeying the principles of Hinduism, Artha is based on acquiring material items and friendships, and kama is enjoying pleasure according to the lessons of the Kama Sutra.Â But then there were those who objected to pleasure and wished to keep the ideal human pursuits limited to dharma, stating:
“Pleasures should not be sought for, because they are obstacles to the practice of Dharma and Artha, which are both superior to them, and are also disliked by meritorious persons. Pleasures also bring a man into distress, and into contact with low persons; they cause him to commit unrighteous deeds, and produce impurity in him; they make him regardless of the future and encourage carelessness and levity. And lastly, they cause him to be disbelieved by all, received by none, and despised by everybody, including himself.”
Indian Caste System
The book does explore the caste system in India by describing the three classes of men including the Pithamarda, the Vita, and the Vidushaka.
The Pithamarda was described as a poor man who has few personal possessions but comes from a good country and is skilled artistically.
The Vita is a man who is a wealthy married homeowner who is honored by citizens.
The Vidushaka is only skilled in some of the arts but is trusted by all of the citizens.
Vatsyavana believed that men should really only get to know men of their own caste.
The Kama was practiced by following Hindu principles and marrying virgins who belonged to their own caste.
The Naked Soul Partners
The Treatise on Pleasure
The more sensual aspects of the book begin in the second part when men were categorized according to the degree of passion they had and it was stated in the book:
“A man is called a man of small passion whose desire at the time of sexual union is not great, whose semen is scanty, and who cannot bear the warm embraces of the female. Those who differ from the temperament are called men of middling passion while those of intense passion are full of desire.”
Females were said to have a different kind of passion then men as the book explained that females wish to enjoy sexual relations with men for a longer period of time then men need to have sexual intercourse. One writer in the book was quoted as saying,
Females do not emit as males do. The males simply remove their desire, while the females, from their consciousness of desire, feel a certain kind of pleasure, which gives them satisfaction, but it is impossible for them to tell you what kind of pleasure they feel. The fact from which this becomes evident is that males when engaged in coition cease of themselves after emission and are satisfied but it is not so with females.”
The various types of love were explored and were categorized as love gained from continual habit and performance, imaginary love, love derived from belief, and love derived from perceiving external objects.
Couples engage in different kinds of embraces to express the kind of love that they feel for their partner.
This is a passionate expression of love as a union of this kind is a special one that cannot be broken by others. The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this in the poem Bound For Me when it says:
She comes and looks deep into my eyesHer beautiful majestic eyes, mesmerizing meThere she stands on the doorpostWaiting for my moveI take her hand into my handPressing softlyShe takes off her clothes gentlyTo the last pieceThere she stands in all skinIn all her gloryShe offers me a rope and stretches her armShe is bound for meThere she waits for meWarmExhilaratingLifting each otherBlindfolded warriors in a fieldFingersTongueSoft lipsOur weapons of loveAnd our bodiesOur shieldsShe satisfies me in waysMy words failI love her
Kamasutra portrayed on the walls of the temple of Khajuraho
Vatsyavana wrote about the power of embraces when he wrote:
“The whole subject of embracing is of such a nature that men who ask questions about it, or who hear about it, or who talk about it, acquire thereby a desire for enjoyment. Even those embraces that are not mentioned in the Kama Shastra should be practiced at the time of sexual enjoyment if they are in any way conducive to the increase of love or passion. The rules of the Shastra apply so long as the passion of man is middling, but when the wheel of love is once again set in motion, there is then no Shastra and no order.”
Embracing transitions into kissing which is an even more sensual type of love.
There are many different ways to kiss your lover including a straight kiss which is contact between both sets of lips; a bent kiss when the lovers are bent towards one another; a turned kiss which is when one turns up the face of the other by holding the head and chin; and a pressed kiss which is when the lower lip is pressed forcefully.
Kisses can express love in a much deeper and personal way than merely embracing.
The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this while exploring the nature of kissing when it says:
Go kiss her from her forehead to her feet
Let this poor heart
Now you are ready, my friend
Now you know
You bring love with love
You make love with love
Love knows no desperation
Love knows no boundaries
You have charted the earth well
On the surface of her skin
With your beloved by your side
Hand in hand
Lips to lips
To the glorious birth
Of a new love
The Sexual Freedom
Women were said to enjoy other kinds of physical contact including biting, pressing nails against one another, and striking one another.
Vatsyayana wrote about this kind of contact when he said:
“Those which increase passion should be done first and those which are only for amusement or variety should be done afterward.”
In addition to more physical expressions of love, there were also different ways to form sexual unions with one another. This was explained by stating:
“An ingenious person should multiply the kinds of congress after the fashion of the different kinds of beasts and of birds. For these different kinds of congress, performed according to the usage of each country, and the liking of each individual, generate love, friendship, and respect in the hearts of women.”
Sexual intercourse was analogized to a dispute with your partner. It is a way to truly express opinions about each other and is very physical and romantic.
The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses this the following poem, stating:
Running around, restless
So naive at heart
Don't come and try to stop us
That we celebrate
Our sacred dance
In our preserved innocence
Women were said to express their pleasure in the process of making love by relaxing their bodies and showing great willingness to be united with their partners. Men should interpret pleasure by the mood of their partners during the process.
Vatsyayana wrote of this when he said:
“Though a woman is reserved and keeps her feelings concealed, yet when she gets on top of a man, she then shows all her love and desire. A man should gather from the actions of the woman of what disposition she is and from what way she likes to be enjoyed. A woman during her monthly courses, a woman who has been lately confined, and a fat woman should not be made to act the part of a man.”
Men helped women get in the mood for sexual intercourse by conversing with them and embracing them with affection.
This would help a woman to be filled with love and desire for her partner. There were said to be different kinds of sexual partnerships including the loving congress; congress of subsequent love; congress of artificial love; congress of transferred love; congress like that of eunuchs; deceitful congress; and congress of spontaneous love. Vatsyayana said that men who were skilled in the arts of love were admired and respected.
From sexual unions, the relationship transitioned into something much deeper and into a permanent marriage. Vatsyayana said:
“A man should fix his affections upon a girl who is of good family, whose parents are alive, and who is three years or more younger than himself. She should be born of a highly respectable family, possessed of wealth, well connected, and with many relations and friends.”
The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses the sentiments about the bond of marriage when it utters:
When my friends ask
I tell them
That I met you today
My friends marvel at this
But to me
You are a new
There is no end in such love
Nothing is old here
But our spirit remains the same
And we become
The part of eternal sky
Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems (a modern day Kamasutra)
Once the couple has been married, a man then had to make an effort to instill a sense of trust in their partner. Earning her trust involved embracing her, kissing, and engaging her in conversation. The husband would then ask his wife if she liked him.
Vatsyayana wrote about what she should say to such a question:
“She should remain silent for a long time, and when at last importuned to reply, should give him a favorable answer by a nod of the head.”
Once the wife became more comfortable with her husband, he would then touch her whole body and teach her about the arts of love.
The book Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems expresses about the arts of love in verses from the following poem:
What will you give to your lover?
Do you possess a moonstone or stardust?
Have you planted a thousand roses?
Have you mapped the earth?
To take your lover
On a journey full of mirth?
I don't have a moonstone
Nor do I have stardust.
I am poor but have roses and flowers
In all colors
I will be kind to her limbs
I can fill her life with passion
Her organs will thank mine
Her eyes will peck at mine
Her hairs I will brush
Igniting the passion in her soul
Her vale merging with my knoll,
Just for her pleasures
Ever waiting, ever desiring
It is now evident that a romance is something that requires great effort on the parts of both partners in a relationship.
The Kamasutra describes the stages of romance extensively and how the couple should act towards one another. While the book is an ancient text, some of its advice still holds true today and can be adhered to by all couples.
There is something particularly delightful and passionately engaging about reading erotic poetry. We all can agree to that. But, do people prefer it to watching erotic films or admiring the eros in other arts such as sculptures or paintings?
Let’s look a little dipper into this question in this blog post.
Erotic Poetry and Literature
Erotic poetry and literature is an extremely special, but also delicate genre. You probably wonder why. The answer is fairly simple.
One the one hand, erotic literature is constituted along two distinct and related coordinates: it introduces the reader into a world of myriad feelings by means of which sexual relationships are woven into being and at the same time it seeks to arise in the readers sensations of pleasure and thus awake their own eroticism.
On the other hand, erotic literature is a borderline genre situated in-between high culture and more interested enjoyment, so to speak. Obviously reading erotic poetry is different from reading drama (tragedy, for instance).
Erotic literature goes beyond purely aesthetic pleasure. We don’t necessarily read erotic literature to immerse in a coherent fictional universe that can teach us things and change our perspective on life.
We don’t read erotic poetry in order to engage in a cool-headed analysis of the way a poet constructs setting, mood, rhyme, and rhythm, etc. — unless we actually specialize in literary theory or literature as such. However such cases are extremely rare.
The appeal of erotic poetry
What makes up the immense appeal of erotic poetry for the majority of readers?
First and foremost, erotic poetry acts almost as a release for our brains, since we are so used to repression and societal models which sometimes turn sexuality into taboo and may even claim it could be “dirty”.
Erotic poetry is an excellent proof that sexuality is actually something beautiful that can be transfigured into art. This transformation can be a form of sublimation, to use a concept that was promoted by Freud. 
By means of art, people experience a form of purging (or catharsis) instead of repressing their desires. Erotic poetry is simply a fantastic source of pleasure which acknowledges the beauty and the high priority of sexuality while allowing for a half-abstract experience. Why is it not concrete?
Well, reading erotic poetry requires a degree of abstraction implied by any form of art: the readers move through an array of feelings and experiences that are not their own. For this reason, erotic poetry is not only about sublimation in the purely psychoanalytical sense, since it doesn’t only equal a transformation of one’s own impulses except in a very general way.
Of course through reading erotic literature one gets to indulge in phenomena and sensations that one usually finds pleasurable without committing any transgression from the point of view of one’s own morality.
Instead of betraying one’s spouse with other people, erotic literature permits the readers to escape the boundaries of their own concrete couple in order to find pleasure somewhere else.
However erotic poetry does much more than, say, allowing for the sublimation of the need for erotic diversity: it raises the erotic at the level of the aesthetic and thus it opens the gates towards a different kind of sublimation, literally speaking.
Erotic poetry allows us to experience the sublime itself in the philosophical sense (as a highly impressive and moving quality of greatness) that was so well theorized by Kant. 
Why erotic poetry?
What makes us enjoy reading or writing it so much? Is it the same thing that we experience when watching an erotic film or examining a painting/sculpture which shows us a nude figure or builds on direct representation of sexuality?
We all know about famous works of art that know no restraint in presenting the body as it is for both the aesthetic and the erotic. Of course, we have heard of Michelangelo’s David and we have probably seen it not only once.
How about Goya’s Maja Desnuda? Apart from such widely known examples, there are myriad erotic artworks that may even have been created by contemporary artists you might not have heard of yet. As you can picture, our century is extremely prolific and permissive regarding the erotic and this trend is not limited to literature.
If you are interested in more powerful and even more exotic works of art that could even challenge your own frame concerning what art can do about sexuality, you can take a look at all 15 examples that have made history in this respect.
For many people, the erotic is reduced to pornography and they unwillingly choose to experience it by means of cinema, photography, or magazines that specialize in eroticized displays of the body meant to arouse the readers. Why “unwillingly”?
Because these channels are actually the easiest to access and people often receive information through these media without questioning its purpose or its broader identity.
Why look for something just as delightful when you can watch erotic films anytime on numerous TV channels or you can buy as many DVDs you want?
Some people may have less commercial preferences and are quite familiar with a different kind of erotic movies that relies much less on cliche and objectification, namely erotic art film such as Ai no corrida.
People who are versed in both art and eros surely know this film already. They must also have an excellent understanding about the extent to which drawing on the erotic in art has amazing and high-quality results. Surely other people still have prejudice regarding erotic art or literature in particular.
Some may still consider this genre to verge on superficiality or to function only as an aphrodisiac. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The charm and the mystery of erotic literature lie precisely in its ability to be both arousing and aesthetically valuable. Hardly anyone reads erotic poetry only to get turned on. Most readers want an artistic experience together with the more simple delight of the senses that could easily be achieved by other means.
However what makes erotic literature worth so much for such a large public? One of the deeper reasons is related to the fact that literature has been for a good while a great channel for erotic expression when society encouraged repression.
Not only did literature allow for what social norms tried to forbid, but also it created a very propitious space for the expression of sexual deviations. By this term, we don’t mean anomaly since sexuality shouldn’t be treated normatively.
The bottom line is that literature was the perfect terrain for seeding ideas that would have usually been considered to be less mainstream even by sexually open-minded people.
Why is Venus in Furs by Sacher-Masoch so appreciated? Why is an author like Marquise de Sade not only renowned, but also valuable in his own way? Why has a poet and critic like Swinburne also made history through his treatment of the erotic?
Not only thanks to his abundant talent. It was also partly because of his homoerotic tendencies, partly due to his having approached more â€œexoticâ€ topics (and fetishes) such as flagellation.
50 Shades of Grey
Why is a book like 50 Shades of Grey so successful nowadays? Strangely enough, we live in an era that treasures openness and liberalism, so how come BDSM is still impressive?
The explanation comes down to novelty rather than deviation. Not many erotic works have ventured that far and this is still unexplored territory.
BDSM may be rather commonplacefor some people nowadays “we can no longer regard such practices as deviant,” since many people express interest in experimenting at least and some do it quite openly, adopting it as a real lifestyle.
Moreover, there’s plenty of information about BDSM in the media and anybody who desires to discover why it is worth trying only has to look up things on the web.
Erotic films are also extremely open to such practices since they are part of what plays. However, in literature as well as in other arts such phenomena are still fresh and in very high demand.
What makes erotic poetry so special against all this background? Why does the public appreciate it so much when there are plenty of other ways of enhancing the erotic experience or of experiencing the erotic through art?
Why erotic poetry? What distinguishes it from other genres?
First of all, no genre makes use of imagination the way poetry does. Lyricism and subjectivity are exploited to the maximum, metaphor is the tissue of poetry, and the artist has immeasurable freedom of transfiguring actual sensation and turning it into an almost otherworldly experience.
When reading erotic fiction everything looks almost as in a porn film and the readers are quite familiar with many aspects of sexuality and of the acts described.
There’s scarcely anything surprising except for things like the sex positions that are going to be employed, the moment when people climax, the denouement, etc.
Poetry offers much more: the erotic is often represented figuratively while still phenomenally impactful. Yes, most readers are aroused when reading erotic poetry.
However, at the same time, they are in awe at the fine expression, at the sophistication of feeling, at the synesthetic combination of impressions stirred by the senses and so on.
Poetry doesn’t only describe a sexual act more often than not. Erotic poetry is both about sensitivity and sexuality. The readers are kept in suspense that is not necessarily one that has to do with erotic climax or the development of the relationship between two people.
Poetry cultivates another kind of unexpected: it is the emotion that takes the readers by surprise and also makes them vicariously live through the figure (or the voice) in the poem.
This highly enjoyable feeling of living vicariously through characters is particularly exciting in erotic literature, as you may picture and you may well know.
It’s not necessarily a matter of empathizing with characters or getting inside their brain to understand their point of view and perceptions.
When reading erotic literature we live vicariously through others in an equally erotic way: we are aroused almost as the characters are, we experience similar sensations.
However erotic poetry is even more valuable than that, because it allows us to live vicariously not only through our bodily reflexes. Erotic poetry offers us rich and complex emotional content, intellectual pleasure, and erotically stimulating experience.
Naturally not any erotic poem is going to have the same impact on us on a physical level it highly depends on how overt and striking it is.
However, we almost always enjoy reading erotic poetry from a mental standpoint at least. Often we can really identify with an emotional shade described in the poem. Maybe our own understanding of the erotic was awakened through the right words; maybe a feeling we have for someone was struck through a well-placed and evocative image. It is much more than a representation of the sexual act we search for when reading erotic poetry.
How about the metric part? How does form contribute to the beauty of the erotic? Doesn’t rhyme imply a certain rigor? How can poetic rhythm grasp the actual flow of the erotic?
Although some could expect these demands that may go hand in hand with the lyrical genre (though white verse is quite fashionable) to be a hindrance rather than an advantage, the truth is much more nuanced.
Meter has its own charm because it contains an element of the game: it is a challenge to put sexuality into verse! Have you ever thought of comparing rhyme and rhythm in erotic poetry to actual the actual form and pace of the erotic? This is also a metaphor, of course, but all in all, there’s truth to it since meter can play the role a sex position plays.
How come? It’s simple: it gives shape and structure to the erotic, an experience that in itself is the epitome of wilderness. For this reason, poetry as a genre can actually enhance the value of the erotic. It’s not a mere description of a succession of steps that lead to climax.
Erotic poetry has a flow of its own because of metric elements. Each feeling and fascicle of sensations can be put into different verses depicted in so many ways! It’s almost the equivalent of experimenting with sexuality directly, don’t you think so?
Of course, free verse is also an option and a rather successful one. But let’s not forget more conventional forms of poetry. There’s a special charm to them because they organize experience and hold it in restraint. Everybody knows too much freedom may actually undermine pleasure in a way.
It’s already a truism that forbidden fruit tastes better. Aren’t we attracted more to what is not easily accessible — at least not at once? Poetry offers us a sense of structure and refraining.
We don’t have the same kind of delightful experience when reading erotic fiction. We can only imagine the characters involved and build a picture of what everything must look and feel like. But there’s hardly any form of teasing, is there? Metric demands can act as a challenge for people who love erotic poetry — both writers and readers.
For the writer, it’s both a game and a way of sublimating erotic experience through yet another filter and form. Maybe it’s not as appealing and complex to simply describe things as they are.
Imagination and musicality are extremely potent. For readers meter and rhythm enhance the experience. They create music apart from describing the erotic. Sonority adds layers to the feelings or sensation described, just as a color can sometimes express a mood or a specific atmosphere better than a whole stanza.
If you are not yet familiar with all the joys of erotic poetry, now it is time to expand your horizons. Don’t miss out on such an interesting and promising genre only because you are accustomed with other arts or media. Obviously, poetry will not give you the unambiguous concreteness you can find in a film, but it lets your imagination do some work as well.
This is a terrific gift that enhances the potential of the erotic. Your mind is stimulated to reproduce the eroticism it discovers in verse. One could say poetry is a double act of creation: it is not only the poet who creates a world by means of imagery and meter; it is also the reader who transfigures the text into a picture of their own that only builds on what the eyes read.
Every reading is thus also an act of creation, as interpretations enriches the text. Unlike other genres, erotic poetry allows for much more space for what Umberto Eco called opera aperta (the open text).
The poet and the reader work in unison in order to grasp the uniqueness of erotic feeling. Just think about how much reading a novel or short stories offers you out of this multilayered experience. Only then will you understand why erotic poetry has unequaled force and is still widely appreciated and enjoyed.
People love it when their experiences rise above the mundane and this is something erotic poetry promises and delivers without fail. You will simply not find as much pleasure when you read an utterly realistic novel that does nothing more than describing sexual acts in order to turn the readers on. Erotic poetry reflects a specific purity of intent even when it is rather explicit. In erotic poetry aesthetic delight never comes second to anything else.
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What do you think about the expression of Eros in the form of erotic poetry and literature? Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
I’ve recently been looking into the history of spirituality and eroticism. Since the antiquity, there has always been some overlap and deep connection between the two great muses of human pursuits.
Spirituality and Eroticism
From my research, what I have found that either the religion has tried to suppress the eros or embraced it by transforming and expressing the eros by channeling the sexual energy into spiritual, selfless love to God or some ideal.
While I’ve been checking out ancient teachings and beliefs, biblical verses, songs and poetry, all with the theme of eroticism and spirituality in mind.
I can honestly say that I’ve literally been blown away and swept off my usually grounded feet by the jaw-dropping beauty, frank honesty and unguarded language used by mystics, poets or pagan priests advocating their love for spiritual and mystical figures.
The strength of their ecstatic devotion never fails to shine through, even within their sometimes sexually charged diction. In fact, if I was of religious persuasion, you could probably say that through what I’ve learned, even in a short time frame, I’ve literally been taken to the church (or temple) and back.
It was no less than a sacred pilgrimage through time and cultures.
Let’s look at some of these overlaps where the erotic meets the spirit.
Saint Teresa of Avila
Since I’ve just mentioned church this is as good a time as any for Spanish mystic and nun, Saint Teresa of Avila (who was canonized by the Catholic church during the 1600’s) to share with us her heartfelt and intimate feelings towards God.
Saint Teresa is said to have experienced devotions of ecstasy which was one of perfect union with God. Her devoutness could not be more apparent than in her poem, I Would Cease to Be:
GodDissolvedmy mind, my separationI cannot describe now my intimacy with HimHow dependent is your body’s life on water and food and airI said to God, I will always be unless you cease to Be,And my Beloved replied,And I would cease to Beif you died
You get a real sense of her intensity and passion from the words used here. Whenever I read it I get the feeling that it could almost be a poem written to a lover.
Saint Francis of Assisi
Such displays of beautiful outpourings towards religious and spiritual figures by their devotees have been thematic throughout the centuries. The poem (a prayer as hymn actually): Dear God by lifelong devout Christian, Saint Francis of Assissi also shows the true extent of his feelings:
Dear God, please reveal to us your sublime beautythat is everywhere, everywhere, everywhere,so that we will never again feel frightened.My divine love, my love, please let us touch your face.
I love the line please let us touch your face, it’s exactly the kind of thing a person would long to do from the moment he/she begins to fall in love with someone. Saint Francis was canonized as a saint during 1228.
Sixteenth-century Indian mystic, Mirabai, is another plenary example of devotion in its purest form. She became a lifelong follower of Sri Krishna whom she thought of as her husband.
So passionate was her devotion, Mirabi inspired many others to take the same devotional path.
Even well-known sadhus (Hindu word for ascetic holy men) came to her for divine influence. Her life’s sacrifice to Krishna really shines through in this poem:
The saffron of virtue and contentment Is dissolved in the water-gun of love and affection. Pink and red clouds of emotion are flying about, Limitless colors raining down. All the covers of the earthen vessel of my body are wide open; I have thrown away all shame before the world. Mira’s Lord is the Mountain-Holder, the suave lover. I sacrifice myself in devotion to His lotus feet.
A lot of Mirabai’s poems were written to be sung as bhajans (religious songs of praise) and many of them are still sung in India today.
Song of Songs
I am going to return to the theme of Christianity for now as we take another journey back to one of the religion’s most well-known holy scriptures, the Song of Songs (or Song of Solomon).
It’s from the Judaic Old Testament and it’s frank and animated details of the physical love between two people definitely makes it unique to the books of the Bible, especially when you consider that it’s said to have been written between 971 and 965 BC.
“Let my lover come into his garden and taste its delicious fruits.”– Song of Solomon 4:16
There are a great many different versions, translations and interpretations around of this book, e.g. King James version, Hebrew translation or the more recent International version.
I’ve included just a small snippet of the more modern International version below, but it can be found here in its entirety.
Song of Songs
While the king was at his table, my perfume spread its fragrance.
My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts. My beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms from the vineyards of En Gedi.
– Song of Solomon 1:12-14
Do try and take in the whole thing if you haven’t already, I think the Song of Songs is a fantastic expression of the power of love and the physical attraction it brings, which definitely makes it stand out more than other books of the Old Testament.
Sumerian Mythology: The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi
This is said to be one of the oldest love poems from the ancient world. Recently translated, the words for The Song of Inanna and Dumuzi are said to have been found on stone tablets in the ruins of Nippur, one of the ancient cities of Babylon.
In this myth, a high priestess acting on behalf of the goddess of the land has sex with the ruler of the country to show the goddess’s acceptance to him as guardian of her people.
This ritual is said to bring prosperity to the goddess’s people (who would watch the whole of this sacred act taking place).
With verses that include phrases like:
He shaped my loins with his fair hands, and,
Who will plough my wet ground?
This poem is far more explicitly upfront than most in this blog. However, because the translations by Diane Wolkstein and Samuel Noah Kramer are quite recent, I don’t think I can include an excerpt in this blog for copyright reasons; but along with more information about Sumerian mythology, the poem can be found in its entirety here.
The Sumerians, like the ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped many gods. Their religious practices at times obviously included some sexual behavior.
We’ve probably all noticed the consistent use of erotic imagery when looking at history books on ancient times e.g. the representation of male Greek Gods often being that of naked well-endowed males.
It’s hugely apparent that back then, sexual attitudes and behavior, unlike today, didn’t seem to encourage any shameful undertones whatsoever.
When you consider that for two hundred years after Rome’s state religion became Christianity, long term gay unions including marriage were still in existence, it’s so apparent that during this era there were few restrictions imposed on sexuality before later teachings and opinions changed things.
The Virtues of Chastity
It was around 50AD that chastity became a virtue after Saint Paul advocated that the highest love was God and that chastity was the best expression of one’s holiness.
He was of the opinion that if the commitment to chastity could not be sustained then marital sex would then be the next option.
This, to me, basically suggests that Saint Paul felt that sex was sinful and that chastity was actually a clear expression of one’s religiosity.
I am not sure that Jesus even held this same belief as Saint Paul. Although there isn’t a huge deal of stuff documented about Jesus’ attitudes towards sexual behavior. He did preach that men and women should be treated the same when it came to adultery and divorce.
When Jesus came across a woman who had committed adultery, he did not condemn (The Hebrew bible authorized stoning for this act). Instead, he uttered one of his famous phrases:
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” – John 8:7
During the 12th century Philosopher and Theologian, Thomas Aquinas’ impact on sexuality and sexual practices was so phenomenal it even still asserts its influence over the Catholic church today (not bad for a guy who died around eight hundred years ago!)
He was of the belief that sexual organs were merely a vehicle for procreation, any other uses were deemed unnatural or immoral, especially when it came to homosexuality.
His opinion laid the foundation for Christian attitudes that would continue for centuries. Aquinas’ poem to God “Could you Embrace that” can be found here.
Have a look at the quote below which was made by modern-day spiritual leader and Indian mystic Rajneesh (Osho).
So always remember, whatsoever I say to you, you can take it in two ways. You can simply take it on my authority, Because I say so, it must be true — then you will suffer, then you will not grow.
I love this quote because it immediately encourages the growth of the mind. During his time on Earth (between 1931 – 1990), Osho gave nurturing talks on all manner of subjects, ranging from meditation, enlightenment, religion, and self-exploration.
He was also a follower of Tantra which he describes as the science of transforming ordinary lovers into soul mates.
Rather than seeing sex as a sinful act, Osho believed it to be sacred and joyful. This is a snippet from one of his discourses From Sex to Superconsciousness.
Only in the moments of coitus did man realize that it was possible to feel such profound love, to experience such illuminating bliss. And those who meditated on this truth in the right frame of mind, those who meditated on the phenomenon of sex, of intercourse, came to the conclusion that in the moments of climax the mind becomes empty of thoughts. All thoughts drain out at that moment. And this emptiness of mind, this void, this vacuum, this freezing of the mind, is the cause of the shower of divine joy.
If you want to know the elemental truth about love, the first requisite is to accept the sacredness of sex, to accept the divinity of sex in the same way you accept God’s existence with an open heart. And the more fully you accept sex with an open heart and mind, the freer you will be of it. But the more you suppress it the more you will become bound to it.
I am going to round things up now with something I haven’t heard about very often an erotic poem written by a priest. This one was created during the 16th century by Anglican priest, John Donne. It’s called:
To His Mistress Going to Bed
Unpin that spangled breastplate which you wear,That th’eyes of busy fools may be stopped there.Unlace yourself, for that harmonious chimeTells me from you that now it is bed time.Off with that happy busk, which I envy,That still can be, and still can stand so nigh.Your gown going off, such beauteous state reveals,As when from flowery meads th’hills shadow steals.Those set our hairs, but these our flesh upright.License my roving hands, and let them goBefore, behind, between, above, below.O my America! my new-found-land,My kingdom, safeliest when with one man manned,My mine of precious stones, my empery,How blest am I in this discovering thee!To enter in these bonds is to be free;Then where my hand is set, my seal shall be.Full nakedness! All joys are due to thee
To read the complete poem, please visit here. John Donne’s poems were first published posthumously in 1633 and 1635.
Thanks very much for looking at my blog, please let me know if you enjoyed reading it.
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What do you think about theÂ Eros and Religion? Do you also feel they connect deeply and that they are basically the same powerful force? I am sure there are other aspects or connections that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
“I love to write poetry, I love to sing,” chirped American poet and singer, Jill Scott, by way of introduction on her debut album at the turn of the millennium.
A few tunes in, I could tell she meant business.
Interconnectedness of Music and Poetry
The fusion of music and poetry on her track Exclusively is a prime example of how musical subtleties can illuminate and enhance the spoken word.
As Scott tells her story – sharing intimate details of a sexily charged morning spent with a lover the sultry syllables which unfurl from her tongue and sweetly tumble from her mouth are in total harmony with the melodic, soulful and rhythmic sounds.
She grips the listener with her Philly twang, its beat pattern subtly changing every so often, until suddenly her voice tone hugely alters; as does the music.
This abrupt shift brings us to the end of her tale. The story teller’s sentiments have changed and we, the listeners, feel her first unsatisfactory climax of the day as much as she does. Pure poetry.
Linking the mediums of music and poetry is nothing new, the relationship is a close one with the two having inter-connected on so many levels throughout history. For centuries now performers, lyricists, and musicians have done much to cement this relationship, often producing outstanding results for our listening pleasure.
The poem Break, Break, Break by eighteenth-century British born poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson is a good example.
Music in Poetry (without instruments)
Creating music within a poem can be a difficult task to begin with, but by using carefully constructed verses, writers of poetry for the page can bring rhythm to their work, so long as they’re prepared to put the hours in.
Being cunningly creative with rhyme patterns, pace and line breaks, or by using alliteration and onomatopoeia are just a few of the ways in which rhythmic beats can be created within prose to give it life.
Being brave enough to play around with language and punctuation can also add a lot of flavor to beat patterns: emphasis using capitalization or an exclamation after successive well-crafted syllables on a page, can make all the difference to the flow and pattern of the piece for the reader and, if the writer is lucky, result in the creation of rhythm patterns, rhymes and melodies without a single semibreve, quaver or crotchet being included in the equation.
Writer and cartoonist Dr. Seuss is a fun example of someone who got this right.
Spoken Word Artists
Spoken word artists too have long been blessing us with musicality in their work. The skills in creating musical elements in their work lie, not only in the writing but in their powerful oral execution and melodic flow. Spoken word poets have the advantage of complementing their written work using anything from acting or comedic methods to creating an alter ego.
Merely reading from the page in monotone fashion is not an option in terms of creating a rhythm for a live audience.
To be successful and engaging in this field a few things a poet may need to adopt in his or her work are: repetition, chanting, alliteration or beatboxing.
Rapping, pregnant pauses, tempo changes, and even audience participation are all pretty popular too.
After all, a room full of people clapping or chanting in harmony with you as a performer is a fantastic way to bring out the beats and control the melodies, again without relying on a single musician or instrument.
Whether you look at some of today’s artists or go back a few decades, popular performers both past and present have had strong associations with poetry and music: Jim Morrison, Dylan Thomas, Maya Angelou, and Bob Dylan are just a handful.
Jim Morrison published several books of poetry during his short lifetime. But until the album An American Prayer was put together and released several years after his death, he was probably better known as The Doors’ hell-raising frontman.
The LP comprises Morrison’s poetic narrative over music composed by surviving members of The Doors. Genius in parts it keeps the listener captivated and awakens the imagination at the start. The poem Awake blends beautifully with the music’s trance-inducing chimes and 70’s guitar.
Although the sometimes too-upbeat melodies don’t always blend so well with the dark lyrics in subsequent tracks, Morrison’s talent for poetry writing still manages to shine through on this album, despite the lack of harmony between the music and poetry.
The poet Dylan Thomas is no doubt Wales’ most famous literary export his gift of bringing music, bounce, and melody to his work makes it charming to read.
He was a popular performer in the USA during the 1950’s but like Jim Morrison, Thomas went on to become a heavy drinker; he too, by all accounts, also had his fair share of hell-raising moments.
Decades after Thomas’ death in New York, several of his poems were given a new lease of life to mark his centenary in 2014.
Welsh musician Cerys Matthews recorded several of Thomas’s poems and set them to music. A Child’s Christmas, Poems and Tiger Eggs is the magical result the combination of music, spoken word and song is a harmonious and beautiful marriage which works amazingly well.
Lovers of Thomas’ work, as well as voyeurs, may well find some gems that raise a smile or two in this modern collection. Hippos is just one of a number of tracks that stands out in this awesome collection.
In a blog about poetry and music, it would be wrong not to mention America’s First Lady of Poetry, the late Maya Angelou.
If there is one poet on this planet whose lyrics have been regularly linked with musicians, it’s Angelou. Such an inspirational figure to many, her poem I know why the Caged Bird Sings’ has been hugely influential for several artists over the years including Alicia keys, who recorded: Caged Bird for one of her albums at the turn of the millennium.
Angelou herself actually featured on hip-hop artist Common’s track Dreamer in 2011. Even singer and actor Olivia Newton-John has been inspired by Angelou. In 2005 she recorded a charity song called Phenomenal Woman, based on Angelou’s poem of the same name.
With her work holding such influence over the music and literary worlds, America is set to feel Angelou’s lyrical presence for years if not decades to come.
Poem or Song?
Can song lyrics stand out more as a poem than as a song? This isn’t a question that comes up very often, but it’s one worth asking. Take a look at the lyrics from the song Forever Young.
The audiobook production is currently work-in-progress. If you think you can help, please contact me.
When you need some music or spoken word to add to your reading experience, take a look at our top five sensual tunes to enhance your reading experience. Let me know what you think in the Comments section below.
Fast paced and pounding mainly instrumental track containing a few seductive spoken words. It speeds up and slows down at just the right moments.
Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email now and join and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Sign up now and stay in touch!
What do you think about the relationship between Music and Poetry? I am sure there are other aspects or connections that I have missed. Please leave your thoughts and input in the Comments below.
Erotic Poems by Charles Bukowski, W. H. Auden, Mutsuo Takahashi, Federico Garcia Lorca, and Emily Dickenson.
From The Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems
Erotic literature has been for a long time a rather controversial and fascinating genre that transgresses boundaries in many respects.
It is by no means new, but it was valued in its own right in antiquity (Sappho’s works or the Kama Sutra are only two examples among the most famous ones).
However given certain restrictions imposed in other historical periods such as the Middle Ages, the Victorian era, and even during times which are closer to the 21st century, erotic literature can still be considered a genre that challenges convention.
Only in our decades can we see more openness towards a new kind of exploration of the erotic.
It is enough to think of work such as Fifty Shades of Grey and its success and you can easily understand why and how the erotic has become a new focus for the literature-loving masses as well as for the critics.
Most Striking Erotic Poems
Erotic poetry is particularly intriguing because this genre has often demanded a higher degree of lyricism through an expression of subjectivity and quite often “complex feelings.”
How do these qualities mesh with the erotic? Is the erotic pure physicality? Does it imply the depiction of mere sensation or it also plays on emotionality and abstraction? What does the aesthetic of the erotic look like?
It is essential to understand that there’s more to erotic poetry than corporeality or sexuality.
The way this interesting and not at all simple genre manifests itself differs, of course, from one historical time to another and even from one country to another, depending on several particularities of the artistic trends that were influential at one point and on preferred kinds of sensitivity/ imaginary in a given cultural space.
Which are the most striking erotic poems of all time? What is extraordinary about them? Does it only depend on the horizon of expectations of a certain era and public? It’s self-understood that many erotic poems written by contemporary authors would have shocked people in the 17th or 18th century.
However, our intention is showing a few remarkable erotic poems in their full historical and artistic context.
For starters, what did erotic poetry look like in the 18th century? It was, of course, much more veiled and metaphoric than nowadays.
Some poets were however more provocative and even cultivated a form of aesthetic perversion (Charles Algernon Swinburne, for instance) while approaching more delicate topics and employing abundant imagery of sensuality.
One relevant example is the eroticization of a religious female figure, for instance.
The erotic was visible in the intent of challenging boundaries (e.g. a Madonna vs. whore binary) and not necessarily in the depiction of overt sexuality.
Others poets preferred a more concealed style. Eroticism was thus often approached under the guise of more â€œelevated and socially appropriate feelings such as love, admiration, fascination, etc.
Let’s go through a few outstanding erotic poems that qualify as the most striking of all times.
Come Slowly, Eden! by Emily Dickenson
This short poem is primarily memorable through its intense and pregnant metaphor or female orgasm. There may have been more daring poems written in the 19th century.
However, what is extremely special about this poem comes down to the fact that it was written by a female author who was actually never married.
Emily Dickenson’s life centered on her closeness to her family, on forms of seclusion as well as on a few ambiguous relationships that were probably never consummated. Scholars have investigated the poet’s sexuality and concluded she may have actually had a homoerotic orientation (given her intense friendship and correspondence with Susan Gilbert Dickenson, her sister-in-law).
What makes this poem so interesting? Well, it’s precisely the enigmatic and ambiguous gender imprint and sexual orientations it implies.
The poem consists of two stanzas only and it is constructed along the fertile and powerful metaphor of a bee that circles a flower and ultimately sips its nectars. The amazing imagery depicts the bee as a “he” while the flower is feminized.
What is absolutely fascinating about this short poem is the way in which conventional gender roles mingle and blur: the bee that should be the predator and sip the nectars from the alluring, but passive flower actually ends up being a fainting victim, since he is lost in balms.
Orgasm is thus described as a sensation of Eden for both parties. The flower is deeply sexualized through the image of the chambers (instead of petals), while the bee is metonymically represented through the image of the lips, thus further intensifying the complex sexual connotations of the poem:
Come slowly EdenLips unused to thee- Bashful sip thy jasmines- As the fainting bee.
The eroticism in this poem is heightened through powerful olfactory and gustative images: jasmines, balm, nectars, etc.
Evidently, the sexual act is veiled through the description of a common phenomenon in the natural world whose beauty could potentially be admired as such without any erotic connotations.
The apparent candor suggested by this poem is telling of the way an erotic poem could be written in an era that did not allow too much freedom of sexual expression.
Intensely figurative, Emily Dickenson’s erotic poem remains among the most striking, especially in the context of the whole mystery surrounding the poet’s own sexual orientation and activity.
Gacela of Love Unforeseen by Federico Garcia Lorca
In the first half of the 20th century, the erotic was already not as taboo as before. Modernist poets experimented tremendously while still retaining a love for highly metaphoric representation or dream-like scenes.
Federico Garcia Lorca is a significant Spanish poet who gained international recognition through the force and the complexity of his imagery. Aesthetic elements that were employed by artists all over the world during that time harmoniously combine with traces of Spanish folklore in Lorca’s poetry.
Similarly the emphasis on subjectivity and imagination one can generally find in modernism gains additional nuances through the passionate and emphatic style that is so appreciated in the Spanish culture.
Lorca has written a lot of erotic poetry, but this particular poem is remarkable through its almost tragic tonality. Can the erotic be tragic?
Strange as it may seem, in Lorca’s poetry eroticism is intensified through anguish or the feeling of loss and death.
The poem starts with a definite impression of the bond (and binding) between a man and the woman he speaks about while also addressing the poem to.
In the man’s words, nobody can understand the secrets of the woman’s body as well as he could. The female body is described through expressive images of bloom and scent which obviously symbolize sexuality and attraction:
Nobody understood the perfume/ Of the dark magnolia of your belly.
Lorca’s poem is striking not so much through its sexual images (which are not exactly shocking for the time when the poem was written).
What singles it out among many other erotic poems is the contrast between absolute surrender and immersion in sexuality and the atmosphere of loss and ceaseless suffering.
Sensorial images are rich and allusive, as the woman’s visceral being is compared to Magnolia and her gaze appears to be between plaster and jasmine, resembling a pale and seeding branch.
Interestingly the natural imagery suggesting compelling scent and color are accompanied by allusions of extreme heat so as to convey intense eroticism:
while I for four nights laced myself/ to your waist, the enemy of snow.
The allusion of the transgression of time boundaries through intense love and sexuality is however crushed in the end, because what seems to last forever is not the connection between the two lovers, as one would expect, but the man’s painful lust.
The woman is now called the garden of my agony instead of being only a source of joy and pleasure. Hardly can one find something more impressive and memorable in the context of erotic poetry than the last stanza of Lorca’s poem:
forever, forever: Garden of my agony, your body fleeing from me forever, the blood of your veins now in my mouth, your mouth already listless for my death.
The ending of Lorca’s poem can be interpreted as a hint that the erotic is only fulfilled in the man’s imagination and death accompanies a dream destroyed. At the same time, we can read it as a confession of an agony that followed the loss of love: the man’s never-ending pain can thus be one that derives from tormenting memories of physical love.
The ending of this poem is quite open as if what actually matters is the acute feeling of death that accompanies the erotic; other meanings are rather fluid.
There is also a suggestion of a strong consciousness of time passage that turns the erotic into an intense, but tragic experience. Aware of implacable death, the man is haunted by cruel images of perdition both in a physical and spiritual sense. The concreteness of pain and the overall feeling of hopelessness are remarkable in a poem whose content is primarily erotic.
It is not accidental that the mouth loses its erotic connotations in the ending of the poem as death seems to cover everything. What was once an uttermost immersion in the other’s body seems now a shockingly concrete image of death (e.g. the woman’s blood in the man’s mouth).
The contrast between pure physicality and a just as unambiguous and concrete loss (and potentially even decay) distinguishes this poem among others in the genre.
The Shower by Charles Bukowski
How can we discuss erotic poetry without mentioning Charles Bukowski? One of the most famous and provocative American poets in this respect, Bukowski has written considerably in the direction of erotic literature.
Unlike other authors, he turned the erotic into one of his major themes and he often used violent and shocking imagery.
In his case, the power of the erotic comes down to an explicit and incredibly concrete style rather than to metaphor and lyrical refinement.
Bukowski is also renowned for bringing â€œcommon people living on the fringes of society into literary focus without distorting their images or trying to embellish them in order to fit convention.
For the first decades of the latter half of the 20th century that was a notable achievement! Bukowski was a major challenger of aesthetic tradition who aimed at redefining the parameters of poetry rather than assimilating tradition. He also performed masterfully in his approach to the erotic.
What is particular about Bukowski’s erotic poetry? The right answer probably comes down to a strange, but a very genuine blend of pure sensation and deeper emotionality such as melancholy, sadness, yearning, etc.
Given the rawness of his erotic imagery, one would except a more frivolous kind of subjectivity when first approaching his poems.
However, this couldn’t be farther from the real substance and effect of Bukowski’s erotic poetry.
The Shower is remarkable through its depiction of post-coital communication between two lovers. It is striking because it doesn’t represent an actual sexual act nevertheless it is extraordinarily erotic.
The poem introduces the shower as a habitual practice between two lovers. What is strange is that gradually the reader has a strong impression of uniqueness, since this intimate act is described as something the man and the woman enjoy as if it weren’t recurrent, let alone boring or monotonous.
The shower thus becomes a mere continuation of the sexual act the two have just disengaged from. Showering together afterward only shows them how powerful the chemistry between them still is and impels them to fully eroticize the new act.
The poem is quite shocking through its language, as there are absolutely no reservations about the explicit depiction (and naming) of the genitalia.
Bukowski intends to use everyday language regardless of what people may consider being slang.
There is absolutely no disguise; every part of the male or female body, no matter how intimate, is named and depicted in full detail as the poem alludes to the (new) erection that will likely culminate in yet another sexual act even though this remains unsaid and the two lovers are further presented as they get dressed:
I grin grin grin, and then I wash her. . . first the ****, I stand behind her, my cock in the cheeks of her **** I linger perhaps longer than necessary, then I get the backs of the legs, the ****, the back, the neck, I turn her, kiss her, soap up the breasts, get them and the belly, the neck, the fronts of the legs, the ankles, the feet, and then the ****, once more, for luck. . .another kiss, and she gets out first, toweling, sometimes singing while I stay inturn the water on hotter
Bukowski’s poem doesn’t limit itself to what one may call concrete cynical eroticism. It also includes some sarcastic gender commentary, since it makes it clear that naming the male genitalia while censoring the female ones is not at all accidental.
The poem thus humorously and ingeniously mocks at the social convention and gender discrimination reflected in what may be considered to be acceptable language.
The irony is extremely charming since sexuality and the body is described in their full organic nature. Physiology takes over figurative language as the poem builds on the purity of raw sensations and chemistry.
The poem surprises the reader in an interesting way: it doesn’t end through a climatic depiction of a sexual act, but rather in a melancholy tone. The unexpected ending is one in which the erotic is endowed with slightly metaphysical/religious nuances.
Only by means of such an abysmal experience can the man’s memories of pain or defeat be appeased.
The erotic is thus acknowledged as a force that helps people overcome negative life experiences and even transcend the mundane.
This poem is unique through the way it combines concrete sexuality with a deeper feeling of sadness and loneliness that would linger in the man’s psychic space unless he had the chance of reveling in such apparently banal moments.
Sleeping Wrestler by Mutsuo Takahashi
A famous contemporary Japanese poet, Takahashi has written mainly homoerotic poetry whose style ranges from explicit eroticism to more psychological content.
Sleeping Wrestler sounds like an aesthetic gem even when you totally disregard the fact that it concentrates on homosexual love. This can be considered to be a rare talent of the poet since homo-eroticism was still a delicate issue in the 20th century.
The poet manages to eliminate any impression of potential discomfort or clumsiness in the expression of homosexual love and lust.
This particular poem simply describes a genuine and deep emotional connection between two men in a rather unique way: the poem can also look like some sort of gay manifesto since apparently only one of the two men is completely aware of the actual attraction between them.
The whole poem thus sounds like a plea for the acknowledgment of homoerotic orientation addressed to the object of the speaker’s attention and affection. Of course, the poem can be interpreted as a man’s attempt to show the other how he represses attraction because of gender pressure and socially constructed impediments.
Repression is described as sleep, struggle, and murder. Giving in to social norms regarding sexuality and fighting to bury his attraction to another man deep inside his psyche, the sleeping wrestler is actually also a murderer, since he destroys sincere interpersonal connection and love.
The atmosphere of the poem is intense and the voice of the man seems both dreamlike and terribly real. The poem builds on the paradoxical blend of a sense of fragility (perhaps strange for the usual images of homosexual love ingrained in the consciousness of the public) and struggle.
Eroticism is represented as a struggle not only in the sense of repression of sexual orientation but also as far as the sexual act is concerned.
Images of wrestling and fight, verbal constructions such as you nail me down, metaphors like a pillar of tendons or the ring of your entangled body and the insertion of the famous figure of the toreador Escamillo (from Bizet’s Carmen) are all very powerful in the representation of homoerotic love as a tense conjoining of bodies:
On your stout neck like a column, like a pillar of tendons
The thoughtful forehead
(In fact, it’s thinking nothing)
When the forehead slowly moves and closes the heavy eyelids
Inside, a dark forest awakens
A forest of red parrots
Seven almonds and grape leaves
At the end of the forest a vine
Covers the house where two boys
Lie in each others arms: I’m one of them, you the other
In the house, melancholy and terrible anxiety
As one man tries to convince the other to give up on repressing his sexuality by urging him to open his eyes, the whole poem seems soaked in a feeling of melancholy and terrible anxiety which, of course, can be caused by the very fact that only one of the men is at peace with his homosexual attraction.
However, this mood intensifies the dramatism of the struggle in the poem and turns eroticism into a fascinatingly complex experience.
All in all this poem can also be read as a more generic call for people who may have homoerotic impulses to stop resisting them and killing the rare and precious feelings of lust and love.
The Platonic Blow by W. H. Auden
Last, but not least we cannot ignore the long and highly controversial erotic poem written by Wystan Hugh Auden. As the title indicates, this poem focuses on an act of fellatio.
If this is not striking enough for its time, namely the 40s it is a poem about homosexuality as well.
It’s essential to mention that this poem differs from the others we have already discussed through its purely pornographic (rather than lyrical) nature.
Auden wrote this poem as a challenge. It was not included among his usual poems meant for the general public, but it secretly circulated around certain circles.
It was only published in 1965 in the American counterculture magazine entitled Fuck You/ A Magazine of the Arts.
Why is this poem so remarkable? Is it only because of its shocking nature? The answer is more complex: Auden’s poem is valuable both through its daring convention-challenging quality and its aesthetic content.
While there is not much emphasis on subjectivity or internalized eroticism, the sexual act is by no means represented as something shameful or disgusting, in spite of all its explicit and highly abundant details.
We should not forget that during the latter half of the 20th-century oral sex was still a taboo topic.
It may actually be a bit taboo even nowadays for a certain public, although doubtlessly the media and the general direction of art and culture allow for much more freedom and open-mindedness.
This poem may well be the most striking erotic poem ever written, given its whole artistic and socio-cultural context: it was written for a well-defined, but narrow public in 1948 by an established poet.
The poem was published by someone else in 1965 in a counterculture magazine. It depicts nothing more and nothing less than a homosexual act of fellatio; it employs extremely direct and yet not vulgar language; it is quite long and captivating almost as gripping as a 15- minute scene in a porn movie. It describes genuine attraction and quite sophisticated, but also raw eroticism. It involves two men and depicts what could be considered to be an unequal, unilateral sexual act and yet everything seems rather balanced, authentic, and appropriate.
The poem has undeniable aesthetic value through the strength of the sensations and feeling the poem represents.
This list of remarkable attributes could continue. What is amazing about Auden’s erotic poem is the fact that it makes use of little figurative language in order to describe the homosexual act.
However the metaphors we come across are impressive and memorable: the male organ is a work of mastercraft, a firm vase of sperm, or a royal column ineffably solemn and wise; during intimacy, all act was clutch.
The actual communication between the two men is strikingly direct, pure, and authentic:
I glanced as I advanced. The clean white T-shirt outlinedA forceful torso, the light-blue denims divulgedMuch. I observed the snug curves where they hugged the behind,I watched the crotch where the cloth intriguingly bulged.Our eyes met, I felt sick. My knees turned weak.I couldn’t move. I didn’t know what to say.In a blur I heard words myself like a stranger speak.“Will you come to my room?” Then a husky voice, “O.K.”
The whole poem conveys an impression of disarming and genuine eroticism between two men who are completely aware of and deliberate about their sexuality. There’s no need to hide or pretend since homoeroticism is regarded and treated as an incredibly natural and pleasant experience in which social convention has absolutely no place.
Auden’s poem thus appears as a climax of erotic poetry in its own right. What may have been or may be further written afterward would find it quite challenging to equal its artistic and erotic force, given its whole artistic and cultural context.
Did you know about the free VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club? Subscribe your email now and join and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Sign up now and stay in touch!
What do you think about these authors and their out-of-the-time poems? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
The Naked Soul Learning Zone How to Write a Sonnet, Haiku, Riddle, Rhyme, etc.
Learn with examples and write your own.
How to Write Poems and Rhyme
When I was a kid, I had a huge obsession with Dr. Seuss’s books, practically every poem I read, included end-rhyme (words at the end of a sentence which rhyme with others at end of a sentence).
Put simply, a poem had to rhyme otherwise, it simply wasn’t one. Although my opinion has now changed (structure and rhythm hold importance, yes but this doesn’t always have to include rhyme) there are some people (you could even be one of them) who hold that same belief that I held as a child.
In this blog we’re going to take a look at verse forms that take rhyme and non-rhyme patterns, so if you are of the opinion that verse has to rhyme to be a poem, maybe I can help change your mind. Grab a pen and a notepad (there are a few exercises to complete during this blog) Iâ€m going to start with haiku writing.
For more information on creative writing and rhyme, please visit here.
A haiku is a Japanese poem (or English poem in haiku form) containing seventeen syllables and spanning three lines which follow a five, seven and five syllable pattern; with the third line often taking an unexpected twist.
Haikus are traditionally heavily influenced by nature and the seasons, they’re usually free of metaphors, similes and rhyme too (but are still regarded as poems!).
Poets have been composing haikus for centuries. Kobayashi Issa, was a haiku master from the late 1700s and early 1800s, this is one of his haikus:
Everything I touchwith tenderness, alas,pricks like a bramble.
Ouch! Traditional haikus are generally pretty expressive with a huge focus on nature. The following haiku was written byÂ novelist and master of the haiku, Natsume Soseki:
Over the wintryforest, winds howl inÂ ragewith no leaves to blow.
For more information and examples, please visit here.
Writing Your Haiku
Some writers have expressed that the short length and simplicity of a haiku means that theyâ€re easy to write. But I think that sticking to all its associated traditions can make a haiku a little tricky to get right at first, so when it comes to trying your hand at haiku writing, feel free to break a few of the rules and experiment.
To get yourself started, try freewriting a half page or so of buzz words relating to nature, weather, the seasons, senses (taste, smell etc.) or whatever you think would sit well in a haiku poem. Basically anything to inspire you on your haiku writing journey. Feel free to pick words from the buzz word table below too.
Here’s my list:
Now, ready to write your first haiku?
Using words from your list (or a combination of yours and mine if that helps) write a few sentences of around 5 syllables that you feel would sit right in a poem.
Then do the same, this time with sentences of around 7 syllables.
My list of sentences looks like this (Iâ€ve added the syllable count to the end of each sentence).
Mistletoe and berries 6
Caged birds, loud singing 5
Ready to take flight 5Â
Fruitless trees, light rain 5
Melting snow, crisp white 5
Two fluttering hearts 5
Warm breath, cast shadows 5
Rose scent on my fingertips 7
Surrender to our hunger 7
Fallen pine cones, crunching feet 7
Crashing like waves we fall 6
Fallen leaves, deepening wounds 7
Now to make your haiku, throw three of your sentences together using the traditional five, seven and five syllable pattern if you can and see what you come up with.
I managed this first time around:
Caged birds, loud singing 5Two fluttering hearts beating 7Ready to take flight 5
I like the second one I wrote a little better:
Mistletoe, berries 5Fallen pine cones, fruitless trees 7Melting snow, warm breath 5Â
How did you get on? You can probably tell that for me, as a starting point, doing it this way worked quite well. But Iâ€m not done yet.
To liven up your haiku writing process when freewriting your buzz words next time, try and think of words or phrases that would sit well in an erotic poem or story. Again, turn them into sentences using the traditional word count and see what you come up with. I managed the haiku below by expanding on some of the buzz word sentences Iâ€d used previously:
Soft scent, your fingersAroma, hunger, sweet, strongLike waves we tumble
Hey, my first haiku inspired by Naked Soul: The Erotic Love Poems (an upcoming poetry book on erotic love). Maybe Iâ€ll include some of these in my next anthology! Iâ€d be surprised if you guys didnâ€t manage to get something out of trying out these simple exercises too.
Before I move on to creating poems that rhyme, letâ€s take a look at a poem that, to me, certainly looks like a poem, sounds like a poem but it doesnâ€t rhyme. The poem is called: For My People.Â It was written in 1942 by poet Margaret Walker:
For My People was written in free verse with, this means the poem writer has written their prose freely, following no rules using no metrical patterns (iambic pentameter) â€“ weâ€ll discuss this in more detail later. For me, despite being rhyme free, the poem â€˜For My Peopleâ€ has natural rhythm, ebb and flow and itâ€s is a definite poem. Is there anyone out there who disagrees with me? Would love to know why â€“ maybe youâ€ll start to change MY mind!
For more information on Free Verse, please visit here.
In this section weâ€re going to focus on creating rhyme patterns, to start off weâ€re looking at sonnets.
Iâ€m wondering, as Elvis Presley has been labelled the King of Rock n Roll, is it OK for me to refer to William Shakespeare as the King of Sonnets? The poet and playwright wrote dozens of them. In fact, he wrote so many (154 to be exact) the poor guy found it hard thinking up titles for them all (being the writer of nearly 40 plays too, he definitely had his work cut out) so ended up just giving his sonnets numbers instead.
Take a close look at William Shakespeareâ€s, Sonnet Number 154.
The little Love-god lying once asleep, A Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand, B Whilst many nymphs that vowed chaste life to keep A Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand B The fairest votary took up that fire C Which many legions of true hearts had warmed;D And so the General of hot desire C Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed. D This brand she quenched in a cool well by, E Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual, F Growing a bath and healthful remedy, E For men diseased; but I, my mistress’ thrall, F
Came there for cure and this by that I prove, G Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love. G
Youâ€ll notice Iâ€ve labelled the rhyme pattern in capitals at the end of each line, weâ€ll look at these more closely before we try out composing our own sonnets. All of Shakespeareâ€s sonnets follow the end rhyme pattern, illustrated above, of A,B,A,B,C,D,C,D,E,F,E,F,G,G
There are fourteen lines with around ten syllables in each line. This is the typical pattern of all of Shakespeareâ€s sonnets, known as Iambic Pentameter which is the most common meter in poetry. The meter uses a combination of iambic feet (or iambs) which are stressed and unstressed syllables â€˜hoNEYâ€ or â€˜bisCUITâ€.
The pentameter portion of iambic pentameter refers to the number of feet (iambs) that are repeated in each line of verse (five in the case of the above poem).
How to Write a Sonnet
Iâ€m hoping youâ€ll join me in the following exercise â€“ creating a poem using the same rhyme scheme pattern as a Shakespearean sonnet. Weâ€re going to be using a buzz word table again, except this time Iâ€m putting together a selection of words which rhyme or half rhyme, some with one syllable and some with more.
King and queen
The table will hopefully help with the end rhyme of your sonnet writing it may also help if you jot down one of Shakespeareâ€s first lines on a page as a starting point to base your rhythm on e.g. Shall I Compare thee to a Summers Day or If Music be the Food of Love, Play on.
I have to admit, I found it hard to get into a 10 syllable sentence mode, but through using one of the Sonnet Kingâ€s opening lines, it got easier. It was still quite a challenge and it took a long time to get to this point, but with a little help from my ideas table, I managed to write my first sonnet. (I warn you if Shakespeare was alive today, he wouldnâ€t worry at all about my stealing his thunder!)
If music be the food of love, letâ€s eatMy heart is no more under lock and keyIf we dine with fine wine and well cooked meatWill you be my true love and marry me?â€œTo fulfil a request that seems sublimeWould seem dishonest and disrespectfulAn action to marry in such a short timeMeans a lifetime of feeling regretfulHide away that designer wedding gownSave it for another in your historyIâ€ll be willing to smile and hide my frownI may even allow you to kiss meâ€Iâ€m happy to eat this fine tasty feastBut no, I wonâ€t kiss this arrogant beast
Ballads are poems which usually tell stories. Typically these can be emotional narratives about love, pain, tragedy etc. Generally written in four line stanzas (verses) the meter of a ballad is often iambic (similar to that of Shakespearean sonnets) as in the case of the sad tale below by William Wordsworth.
Lucy Gray, or Solitude
Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray: And, when I crossed the wild, I chanced to see at break of day The solitary child.
No mate, no comrade Lucy knew; She dwelt on a wide moor, –The sweetest thing that ever grew Beside a human door!
You yet may spy the fawn at play, The hare upon the green; But the sweet face of Lucy Gray Will never more be seen.
â€œTo-night will be a stormy nightâ€” You to the town must go; And take a lantern, Child, to light Your mother through the snow.â€
I think the best time to write a ballad is when youâ€re feeling truly emotional about something. It might be useful to list a few things you would like your ballad to contain beforehand. However, Iâ€m not sure if employing the â€˜buzz wordâ€ table method used earlier would be as useful for creating a ballad if youâ€re hoping to evoke emotion and empathy.
Iâ€m not feeling emotional enough to try writing a ballad at the moment but I do have a few pointers if youâ€re ready:
1. Remember most ballads are written using quatrains (four line stanzas).2. Ballads are probably easier to write than sonnets as there are no set syllable length patterns to follow.3. Not all the end words have to rhyme in a ballad stanza but itâ€s useful if two of them do.4. The last thing I want you to feel is sad or low but being filled with emotion when writing a ballad will, I suspect, only enhance your ballad writing skills.Â
What is an Ode?
Am going to finish with a section on ode writing, the complexities of some take poetry to a whole new level. The link below contains two different types of ode from way back in time called the Pindaric and the Horatian.
If youâ€re brave enough (and youâ€ve got enough time on your hands) to write one of these, bear in mind the following before you embark on the longest literary challenge youâ€ll probably ever face:
A Pindaric ode is defined by the following triads:
1. Stanzas (There are so many verses in Pindaric odeâ€s, you might want to keep the next couple of months free if youâ€re planning on finishing yours)
2. Strophes and antistrophes. These are essentially any number of lines and lengths that follow whichever rhyme scheme the writer decides on but theyâ€re identical in structure. Considering the epic content of Pindaric odes, Iâ€m thinking this could be one tricky poem to master!
3. Epodes: These differ in whatever way the poet decides is best suited for their odes
Wow! Thereâ€s me thinking that sonnets were difficult!
Iâ€m not in a hurry to try writing a Pindaric Ode. Hats off to you if youâ€ve ever tried writing one and completed it.
Moving on to Horatian odes, which thankfully tend to be shorter than Pindaric odes and less intense (theyâ€re usually written in stanzas of two or four lines). If I was going to emulate anyoneâ€s odes then Roman poet, Horatio, is the one Iâ€d go for. The buzz word table might be useful in creating your ode. But I think if you have enough passion for the person , or thing youâ€re writing the ode for, this will probably serve you in good stead.
Iâ€ve decided to finish with my own ode and in the interest of mixing things up and breaking tradition, my ode which is to Dr Seuss, is done in the style of a haiku poem.
Oh say, can you saySeuss. The man! I am a fanOf Green Eggs and Ham!
Did you know about the freeÂ VIP pass offer to the Naked Soul Club. Subscribe your email now and join and be part of this tight-knit community of lovers, readers, writers, adventures and other people just like yourself. I send great contents directly into your mailbox. Sign up now and stay in the touch!
What do you think about this little instruction on writing? Did you have fun reading the poems? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
It is a rather difficult task to assort a list of most celebrated poets of erotic literature. I believe many such lists exist today. No such list will appeal to everyone. I am sure, everyone will have a few differences in the choice of selected poets.
With that said (and out of our way), what I present here is my take on this popular subject based on my own research and reading of more than 300 erotic poetry collections.
Most Celebrated Erotic Poets
The three criteria’s that I used were: poet’s popularity (determined by their “popularity coefficient”), influence of the poet’s writings on society (then and now), and the quality of work (this factor was more subjective and therefore I preferred to look for the “passion” element in their writing).
This is going to be a long post with plenty of lovely and enjoyable poems. I, therefore, request you to sit tight and enjoy this lovely journey. Here we go with our top 10 most celebrated erotic poets in chronological order.
Sappho was one of the few female poets of ancient times and wrote lyric poems that could be performed with the accompaniment of a lyre. She was one of the first poets to write in the first person and was known to have romantic feelings mainly for women. Sadly, only fragments of her work are left today and only one of her poems remains in its entirety.
I have not had one word from herFrankly I wish I were deadWhen she left, she weptgreat deal; she said to me, This parting must be endured, Sappho,I go unwillingly.I said, Go and be happy but remember (you know well) whom you leave shackled by loveIf you forget me, think of our gifts to Aphrodite and all the loveliness that we shared.
Fragment Two: To Atthis
Though in Sardis now,She thinks of us constantlyAnd of the life we shared.She saw you as a goddessAnd above all your dancing gave her deep joy.Now she shines among Lydian women likeThe rose-fingered moonRising after sundown, erasing allStars around her, and pouring light equallyAcross the salt sea.
These fragments convey a tone of sensuality and a deep desire for the women that Sappho felt affection for. They are beautiful examples of early erotic poetry and serve as an example for subsequent poets.
Sappho remains an inspiration to many contemporary poets and continues to be studied by literary scholars.
Ovid was a Roman poet who was acclaimed in his time for his poetry. He wrote a number of love poems that were collected in works such as The Art of Love.
He was exiled by the emperor Augustus to the barren seaport of Tomi and remained there for the last nine years of his life until his death.
In summer’s heat and, and mid-time of the day,To rest my limbs upon a bed I lay;One window shut, the other open stood,Which gave such light as twinkles in a wood,Like twilight glimpse at setting of the sun,Or night being past, and yet not day begun.Such light to shamefaced maidens must be shown,Where they may sport, and seem to be unknown,Then came Corinna in a long loose gown,Her white neck hid with tresses hanging down,Resembling fair Semiramis going to bedOr Lais of a thousand wooers sped.I snatched her gown: being thin, the harm was small,Yet strived she to be covered there withal.And striving thus, as one that would be cast,Betraying herself, and yielded at the last.
Either she was fool
Either she was fool, or her attire was bad,Or she was not the wench I wished to have had.Idly I lay with her, as if I loved not,And like a burden grieved the bed that moved not.Though both of us performed our true intent,Yet could I not cast anchor where I meant.She on my neck her ivory arms did throw,Her arms far whiter than the Scythian snow.And eagerly she kissed me with her tongue,And under mine her wanton thigh she flung,Yes, and she soothed me up, and called me Sir,And used all speech that might provoke or stir.Yet like as if cold hemlock I had drunk,It mocked me, hung down the head and sunk.
As is evident by these poems Ovid was able to convey the more psychological aspects of love while still using physical imagery.
His poetry is beautiful and a milder form of erotic poetry. Ovid remained a significant literary figure long after his death and was very influential to writers in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Petrarch was an Italian poet who wrote prolifically about a woman, Laura, that he encountered on Good Friday in Avignon, France.
He wrote 366 poems based on his love for Laura. He is best known for this sequence which was collected in a song-book entitled Rime Sparse or Scattered Rhymes in English. He was the earliest poet to write using the sonnet.
I’d sing of love in such a novel fashion
I’d sing of love in such a novel fashionThat from her cruel side I would draw by forceA thousand sighs a day, kindling againIn her cold mind a thousand high desires;I’d see her lovely face transform quite oftenHer eyes grow wet and more compassionate,Like one who feels regret, when it’s too lateFor causing someone’s sorrow by mistake;
Alas, so all things now do hold their peace
Alas, so all things now do hold their peace,Heaven and earth disturbed in no thing;The beasts, the air, the birds their song do cease;The nightes car the stars about doth bring.Calm is the sea, the waves work less and less.So am not I, whom love, alas, doth wring,Bringing before my face the great increaseOf my desires, whereat I weep and singIn joy and woe, as in a doubtful ease.For my sweet thoughts sometimes do pleasure bring.But by and by the cause of my diseaseGives me a pang that inwardly doth sting,When that I think what grief it is againTo live and lack the thing should rid my pain.
Petrarch’s sonnets are ones of unrequited love and desire. He was never able to be with the woman of his heart’s desires which is reflected in his many sonnets.
His poetry remained influential after his death in 1374 and was translated by Geoffrey Chaucer who incorporated the translations into his own work.
William Shakespeare was an influential poet and playwright who wrote erotic poems such as Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. He was recognized in his time for his plays and sonnets that were published in a collection entitled The Sonnets of Shakespeare.
Venus and Adonis (But, lo! From worth a copse)
But, lo! from forth a copse that neighbours by,A breeding jennet, lusty, young, and proud,Adonis’ trampling courser doth espy,And forth she rushes, snorts and neighs aloud;The strong-neck’d steed, being tied unto a tree,Breaketh his rein, and to her straight goes he.Imperiously he leaps, he neighs, he bounds,And now his woven girths he breaks asunder;The bearing earth with his hard hoof he wounds,Whose hollow womb resounds like heaven’s thunder;The iron bit he crushes ‘tween his teethControlling what he was controlled with.
Sonnet 98: From you I have been absent in the spring
From you I have been absent in the springWhen proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim,Hath put a spirit of youth in everything,That heavy Saturn laughed and leaped with him,Yet nor the lays of birds, nor the sweet smellOf different flowers in odor and in hue,Could make me any summer’s story tell,Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew.Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;They were but sweet, but figures of delight,Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.Yet seemed it winter still, and you away.As with your shadow I with these did play.
These poems are filled with beautiful physical and natural imagery. Shakespeare’s poems are ones filled with desire and flirtation. His poetry although not very erotic in nature remains great testaments to love to this day.
Jonathan Swift was best known in his time for publishing Gulliver’s Travels. He had many romantic relationships in his life but wrote primarily about two of his partners in his love poems.
A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed
Corinna, pride of Drury-Lane,For whom no shepherd sighs in vain;Never did Covent-Garden boastSo bright a batter’d strolling toast!No drunken rake to pick her up,No cellar where on tick to sup;Returning at the midnight hour,Four stories climbing to her bower;Then, seated on a three-legg’d chair,Takes off her artificial hair;Now picking out a crystal eye,She wipes it clean, and lays it by.
In all I wish, how happy should I be,Thou grand Deluder, were it not for thee!So weak thou art, that fools thy power despise;And yet so strong, thou triumph’st o’er the wise.Thy traps are laid with such peculiar art,They catch the cautious, let the rash depart.Most nets are fill’d by want of thought and careBut too much thinking brings us to thy snare;Where, held by thee, in slavery we stay,And throw the pleasing part of life away.But, what does most my indignation move,Discretion! thou wert ne’er a friend to Love:Thy chief delight is to defeat those arts,By which he kindles mutual flames in hearts;While the blind loitering God is at his play,Thou steal’st his golden pointed darts away:Those darts which never fail; and in their steadConvey’st malignant arrows tipt with lead
These poems reveal Jonathan Swift’s conflicting views on love. The first is very sensual in nature with descriptions of a woman undressing while the second is his perspective on love. Both poems reveal a darker side to romance.
Robert Burns was a Scottish poet who wrote prolifically about love and had multiple romantic partners. Some of his most famous poems about love include My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose, and My Girl, She’s Airy.
A Red, Red Rose
O my luve’s like a red, red rose,That’s newly sprung in June;O my luve’s like the melodieThat’s sweetly played in tune.As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,So deep in luve am I;And I will luve thee still, my dear,Till the seas gang dry.
Anna, Thy Charms
Anna, thy charms my bosom fire,And waste my soul with care;But ah! how bootless to admire, When fated to despair!Yet in thy presence, lovely Fair,To hope may be forgiven;For sure â€˜twere impious to despairSo much in sight of heaven.
Robert Burns’s love poems show that he was a romantic who loved deeply and thought of his partners with great affection. His poetry is still very popular to this day.
The poems referenced can be found by visiting here at poets.org.
VII: Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman was one of the first major American poets. He wrote a number of poems on the subject of love and helped to make sex an acceptable topic in mainstream literature.
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,Your true soul and body appear before me,They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work, farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying.Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,I whisper with my lips close to your ear,I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
A Woman Waits For Me
A woman waits for me, she contains all, nothing is lacking,Yet all were lacking if sex were lacking, or if the moisture ofthe right man were lacking.Sex contains all, bodies, souls,Meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations,Songs, commands, health, pride, the maternal mystery, theseminal milk,All hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves,beauties, delights of the earth,All the governments, judges, gods, follow’d persons of theearth,These are contain’d in sex as parts of itself and justifications of itself.Without shame the man I like knows and avows thedeliciousness of his sex,Without shame the woman I like knows and avows hers.
These poems are filled with passion and great sentiment for the ones that Whitman loved. The first poem describes the beauty of a woman he was in a relationship with while the second describes the wonders of sex.
The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.
VIII: Lord Byron
Lord Byron was perhaps the most famous of the Romantic poets. During his lifetime he had two main lovers, his half-sister and his cousin, who inspired many of his poems.
When We Two Parted
When we two parted In silence and tears, Half broken-hearted, To sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss; Truly that hour foretold Sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning Sank chill on my brow – It felt like the warning Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all broken, And light is thy fame: I hear thy name spoken, And share in its shame.
Epistle to Augusta
My sister! my sweet sister! if a nameDearer and purer were, it should be thine;Mountains and seas divide us, but I claimNo tears, but tenderness to answer mine:Go where I will, to me thou art the same –A loved regret which I would not resign.There yet are two things in my destiny, –A world to roam through, and a home with thee.The first were nothing -had I still the last,It were the haven of my happiness;But other claims and other ties thou hast,And mine is not the wish to make them less.A strange doom is thy father’s sons’s, and pastRecalling, as it lies beyond redress;Reversed for him our grandsire’s fate of yore, He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore.
These poems reflect some of the turmoil and despair of love. They are filled with beautiful imagery and enable the reader to empathize with him. The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.
IX: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Dante Gabriel Rossetti was an English poet whose poetry was intensely sexual. He was a passionate lover who was responsible for the suicide of his wife. Irony?
Master of the murmuring courtsWhere the shapes of sleep convene!Lo! my spirit here exhortsAll the powers of thy demesneFor their aid to woo my queen.What reportsYield thy jealous courts unseen?Vaporous, unaccountable,Dreamland lies forlorn of light,Hollow like a breathing shell.Ah! that from all dreams I mightChoose one dream and guide its flight!I know wellWhat her sleep should tell to-night.
The Stream’s Secret
What thing unto mine earWouldst thou convey, what secret thing,O wandering water ever whispering?Surely thy speech shall be of her.Thou water, O thou whispering wanderer,What message dost thou bring?Say, hath not Love leaned lowThis hour beside thy far well-head,And there through jealous hollowed fingers saidThe thing that most I long to knowMurmuring with curls all dabbled in thy flowAnd washed lips rosy red?
These poems reflect some of the heartache and despair of love. In these poems, Rossetti was able to convey the emotional turmoil of love and use beautiful natural imagery to describe how he felt about love.
The poems referenced can be found by visiting here.
X: Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda was one of the first major Hispanic poets.
He wrote heavily about love in collections such as Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) and Cien sonetas de amor (One Hundred Love Sonnets).
One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII
I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:I love you as one loves certain obscure things,secretly, between the shadow and the soul.I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carriesthe light of those flowers, hidden, within itself, and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arosefrom the earth lives dimly in my body.I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you directly without problems or pride:I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,except in this form in which I am not nor are you,so close that your hand upon my chest is mine, so close that your eyes close with my dreams.
The Song of Despair
The memory of you emerges from the night around me.The river mingles its stubborn lament with the sea.Deserted like the wharves at dawn.It is the hour of departure, oh deserted one!You swallowed everything, like distance.Like the sea, like time. In you everything sank!It was the happy hour of assault and the kiss.The hour of the spell that blazed like a lighthouse.In the childhood of mist my soul, winged and wounded.Lost discoverer, in you everything sank!You girdled sorrow, you clung to desire,sadness stunned you, in you everything sank!I made the wall of shadow draw back,beyond desire and act, I walked on.Oh flesh, my own flesh, woman whom I loved and lost,I summon you in the moist hour, I raise my song to you.
These poems are filled with desire for the women of Neruda’s affections and show how passionate Neruda was about love. These poems convey a sense of unconditional love and are great sentiments to the power of love.
Both poems referenced can be found by visiting here and here.
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What do you think about these poets and erotic poems? Do you agree or do you have alternative suggestions or poets I should look into? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Erotic poetry has been written since as far back as ancient times with ancient Greece, in particular, producing such poets as Erato who was mythologized as the muse of erotic poetry and mimic imitation and represented holding a lyre according to classical Greek writers (Atsma, n. pag.)
Brief History of Erotic Poetry
Another famous Greek poet was Sapphowho was known for writing poetry from the island she resided on, the isle of Lesbos. Sappho wrote poems that were primarily focused on the topics of love, desire, and reflection.
She was a prolific poet and lyricist who had women sent to her island to be educated in the arts. Unfortunately, only one poem of hers in its entirety exists today. She was one of the first known female poets (North, n. pag.)
He was a celebrated poet in his time who was exiled by the Roman emperor, Augustine, to Tomis, a Black Sea port on a remote portion of the Roman Empire (Kenney 1).
Another Roman poet was Gaius Valerius Catullus who was known for translating works by Sappho and writing poetry dedicated to his two lovers, Juventius, his boyfriend, and Clodia, a married woman accused of killing her husband during her affair with Catullus.
Clodia’s name in verse was Lesbia and the poems depict his feelings for her, but also how he criticized her immorality and infidelity (Bocquey 1).
Sextus Propertius was a Roman poet whose only surviving work consists of four books of couplets that are love poems dedicated to his mistress of lower social status, Cynthia. He is recognized for allowing his predominantly male audience to have a good glimpse into his romantic relationship with Cynthia (Cook 1).
II: Medieval Period
As time progressed, more poets emerged in Italy including Guido Cavalcanti and Petrarch. Guido Cavalcanti was best known for publishing Canzone (A lady asks me).
Cavalcanti was friends with a significant literary figure, Dante Aligheri, and Dante was said to have thought of him as the father of modern love poetry (Ruud n. pag.)
Petrarch was known for writing love poems dedicated to a woman he allegedly encountered in a church in Avignon on Good Friday of 1327. From 1327 on he began writing poetry dedicated to this woman and his Canzoniere (Scattered Rhyme) represented his great love for the woman in a collection of 366 lyric poems.
What is significant about this work is his use of the sonnet which became more popular after this work was published. His poems focused on the sexual frustration he experienced from never being able to be alone with the woman, Laura, and the emotions he expressed stemming from this great love (Ruud n. pag).
However, Italy did not produce all of the great poets of this period. Geoffrey Chaucer, a British poet best known for publishing The Canterbury Tales, was also known for depicting the love between Troilus and Criseyde in Troilus and Criseyde which was based on Boccaccio’s Teseida.
Chaucer is considered to be the father of English literature and for making English a more accepted language in literature (Ruud n. pag).
During this same period, a Welsh poet, Dafydd ap Gwilym, was making great contributions to the Welsh literary tradition. Dafydd has been credited with writing over a hundred love poems about the pursuit of love, its successes and failures, and the moods of being in love.
Throughout his poems, Dafydd praised women on their body parts and hardly ever on their dress, jewelry, or superficial appearance.
III: Sixteenth Century
The first major Italian poet of this period was Ludovico Ariosto who wrote sonnets dedicated to his wife, Alessandra, who he married in 1526.
He was most famous though for his three-volume epic poem, Orlando Innamorato (Orlando in Love), which depicted Orlando’s passion for Angelica and the love affair between Ruggiero and Rinaldo’s sister Bradamante.
In the mid-1500s, a French poet, Maurice Sceve, emerged into fame while only a student when he allegedly discovered the tomb of Petrarchâ€s Laura in Avignon.
In the beginning of his literary career, he wrote short descriptive poems known as blasons on anatomy including poems on the eyebrow, a tear, a neck, a forehead, and a sigh.
During this period he met 16-year-old Pernette du Guillet and developed a close friendship with her. Her marriage to another man led Sceve to write his longest work, Delie, Obiect de plus haulte vertu (Delie, a subject of the highest virtue).
Another writer in the mid-1500s, the French poet, Pierre de Ronsard, tried to mask the intense sexual experiences in his early love poems by infusing classical mythology into his poems about his lover, Cassandre Salviati.
He had numerous affairs throughout his life and addressed his poems to multiple partners. He particularly wrote poems about these women including such names as Cassandre, Genevre, Jeanne, Marguerite, Marie, and Helene.
The poems he wrote about Helene were collected in Sonets pour Helene (1578) and were some of his best works as he wrote from the viewpoint of a jaded lover who began to see love as a physical desire according to the â€œEncyclopedia of Renaissance Literature.
In the late 1500s, Sir Philip Sidney produced The Countess of Pembrokeâ€s Arcadia, a romance in five books dedicated to his muse, his sister, Mary. Arcadia was filled with damsels in distress, knights, subverted gender roles, and sexual freedom.
Sidney was also known for his sequence of sonnets, Astrophel and Stella, which depicted the relationship between Astrophel and Stella.
During this same period, Edmund Spenser, a British poet celebrated for his The Faerie Queene, married Elizabeth Boyle and described his love for her in Amoretti, a series of sonnets.
His writing of love poems continued with the publication of Four Hymnsof love and beauty and Prothalamion, a song describing the betrothal of two daughters of the Earl of Spencer.
IV: Seventeenth Century
William Shakespeare was the most renowned poet at the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the 17th century.
Shakespeare’s first published work was the narrative poem, Venus and Adonis, which at the time was his most popular work due to the erotic content within the poem. He was, of course, best known for his large body of dramatic works but his poetry is still alluded to in contemporary literature.
In the late 1600s, John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, achieved fame for his poetry that specialized in the libertine tradition which according to The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry, 17th, and 18th Centuries is a tradition that reflects the values of the skeptic who questions traditional moral ideas.
He along with other poets was known to use sexual references to express disgust. Libertines were extremely interested in women preferring them over men. Wilmot’s legacy remains in his profane poetry that gave power to women at a time when women were very much considered subordinate to men.
A former British spy, Aphra Benn, was one of the first popular female English poets in the late 17th century. She served as a spy in Holland for England but had to plead the English court for payment. She ended up in debtors prison but a man she had met in Holland, Tom Killigrew, may have paid her way out of prison.
She became fascinated with sex and power from her time engaged in espionage and had many lovers one of which inspired her most widely circulated poems including The Disappointment; The Dream; Love Armed; On Her Loving Two Equally; On the Death of Waller; To the Fair Clarinda; and The Willing Mistress.
Behn was best known in her time for the sexual imagery she incorporated into her writing according to The Facts on File Companion to British Poetry, 17th, and 18th Centuries.
V: Eighteenth Century
When the 18th century began, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was the first significant German writer and poet and was known for writing great lyrical poetry. He was also a researcher who conducted scientific research in evolutionary biology, anatomy, and the theory of color and critically analyzed non-Western literature (Burt n. pag).
His work was widely admired in his time and he contributed several significant works to the literary canon including Faust, Erotic Poems, and The Sorrows of Young Werther.
An Irish poet, Jonathan Swift, widely recognized for the publication of Gulliver’s Travels, wrote about his romantic relationship with the daughter of the steward of a statesman and diplomat, Esther Johnson.
He characterized her as Stella in his poems and she was a significant part of his life until her death. However, she was not the only woman who dominated his life. The second woman, Esther Vanhomrigh, was known as Vanessa in his poems such as Cadenus and Vanessa.
He was known in his time as a man who was involved in many romantic relationships but these two were the most important in his life (Brackett n. pag).
A significant Scottish poet, Robert Burns, wrote heavily about sensuality and love in poems such as A Red, Red Rose; A Fond Kiss and Then We Sever; My Girl, Sheâ€s Airy; and The Fornicator.
These poems described his relationships with women and the physical aspects of love. He was married to one woman but was known to flirt with a number of other women (Hager n. pag.)
VI: Nineteenth Century
Walt Whitman was a major American poet throughout the 19th century whose poetry contained autoerotic and homoerotic imagery.
He described his love for his comrades in works such as the classic Leaves of Grass including poems such as From Pent-Up Aching Rivers and As I Lay with My Head in Your Lap. Whitman is recognized for helping to make sex an acceptable subject in mainstream literature (Huff n. pag.)
Charles Baudelaire, a French poet, wrote a number of erotic poems inspired by a serious of romantic affairs. One woman in particular, Jeanne Duval, who he met in 1842, inspired his La chevelure (The Head of Hair).
He also wrote poetry about two other women, Marie Daubrun, an actress, and Apollonie Sabatier, who led a salon for artists and writers. The first collection of his erotic poetry, Les fleurs du Mal was published in 1857 and contained erotic, satanic, and lesbian themes. It was not well received publicly and six poems were banned from public reading (Diamond n. pag.)
George Gordon, Lord Byron, a British poet, first became involved in passionate relationships with other men while being educated at Harrow. He then fell in love with his cousin, Mary Chaworth, who inspired poems such as Hills of Annesley, The Adieu, Stanzas to a Lady on Leaving England, and The Dream.
During this relationship, he began writing to his half-sister, Augusta, who became his lover and wife. He wrote about this relationship in works such as The Bride of Abydos and Parisina, Manfred, and Cain (Bloom n. pag).
Friedrich Holderin was a German poet who wrote several famous poems about a love affair he was engaged in. The woman was often referred to as Diotima in his poems. His poems about Diotima were classical in nature and considered among the greatest German lyrical poems (Diamond n. pag.)
Dante Gabriel Rossetti emerged in the mid-1800s as a British poet whose work was intensely sexual. In poems such as â€œNuptial Sleep and The Stream’s Secret he reflected on sex and passion.
Rossetti was a passionate and romantic lover who was responsible for the suicide of his wife. He was a member of the pre-Raphaelite school of poetry that often included poets who were also painters (Flesch, n. pag.)
VII: Twentieth Century to the Present
As the twentieth century began erotic poetry began to evolve. In the early twentieth century, an Egyptian poet, Constantine Cavafy wrote poems that influenced Greek poets. His poetry was mainly known for its open expression of homosexuality and its themes of love and desire (Diamond, n. pag).
A Japanese poet, Yosano Akiko at the dawn of the twentieth century was one of the first women to have complete work published in Japan.
The collection, Tangled Hair, contained poems about sexual desire and the experience of falling in love. Akiko wrote these poems based on her relationship with the man who would become her husband (Arana, n. pag.)
One of the first major Hispanic poets, Pablo Neruda, published a series of poems about love entitled Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair) that expressed how he felt about love.
In poems such as â€œI like for you to be still and Tonight I Can Write, Neruda was able to enthrall romantic partners and depicted his own series of love affairs.
Later in his life he published a collection of love sonnets entitled Cien sonetos de amor (One Hundred Love Sonnets depicting his relationship with Matilde Urrutia who became his third wife (Beasley, n. pag.)
Another Hispanic poet from Nicaragua, Giocanda Belli, wrote a poem that according to literary critics was vaginal poetry and shameless pornography.
In poems such as And God Made Me Woman Belli wrote verses that depicted her love for her body. Her poems about love and sex were collected in works such as Sobre la grama (On the Grass; Amor insurrecto (Insurrectional love); and El ojo de la mujer (Woman’s Eye) (Roof, n. pag).
An Argentinian poet, Alfonsina Storni, was known for her poems about passionate love which were contained in works such as La inquietud de rosal (Anxiety of the Rosebush); El dulce dano (Sweet Pain); Irremediablemente (Irremediably); and Languidez (Languor).
She was controversial in her time for having an illegitimate child with a man she had a romantic relationship with (Roof, n. pag.)
The Indian-born British poet, Lawrence Durrell, wrote several volumes of poetry based on the classical Greek tradition that was considered sensual in nature. He described the imagery of love and the senses that lovers felt while together (Stade and Karbiener n. pag.)
A significant Palestinian poet, Mahmud Darwish, wrote poems that alluded to works from ancient Greece, Mesopotamia, pre-Islamic Arabia, Persia, and India. One poem that he wrote, Lesson from the Kama Sutra, depicted erotic love in a sensual manner that was poetic and filled with a sense of desire and yearning (Ghazoul, n. pag.)
The first major Haitian poet, Rene Depestre, depicted women in an erotic manner in poems such as Alleluia pour une femme-jardin (Hallelujah for a Garden-Woman) and Eros dans un train chinois (Eros in a Chinese train).
These poems helped develop the style of poetry referred to as erotic-magical realism (Diamond, n. pag).
As is evident by these poets and their works, erotic poetry has evolved over time from the classical tradition of Ancient Greece to more contemporary works that embrace controversial themes such as homosexuality. These poems are filled with passion and display admiration for the beauty of love.
Early erotic poets may have been considered scandalous in their time but it is clear that they are more widely accepted today especially with the publication of novels like Fifty Shades of Grey.
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Instagram has seen a humongous growth in recent years. With this explosive user growth, we also see the rise in posts related to literary nature. Quotations and poetry, in particular, are very popular on this relatively young social media platform.
Interview With Writer Robert M. Drake
There are a lot of accounts which posts poems, quotations and short pieces of writing. Amidst this jungle of writers, one name that comes to the forefront is @rmdrk. Behind this hugely popular username (@rmdrk) is actually a Miami based young street artist and writer, Robert M. Drake.
Robert has recently published his third book “Beautiful Chaos“ through lulu.com. His work is being read by over a million people (across the world) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. His book is already on top third position on Amazon.com in American Poetry category.
I must admit, that it was an honor to interview the man who is not only both successful and highly creative but someone who is being followed by some of the hottest celebrities of our time. Naturally, it sparks a curiosity to meet and know more about this man!
It is impossible to find out the complete list of celebrities who follow him but the man and writer Robert M. Drake is followed by Khloe Kardashian (American reality TV star), Kendall Jenner (American reality TV star and fashion model), Kylie Jenner (American reality TV star), Sophia Bush (American actress and activist), and Shay Mitchell (Canadian actress and model).
There is little to no doubt that thousands of young and aspiring writers want to know more about Robert. This is where this interview idea came to my mind. I knew I wanted to know more about him. Well, it is my pleasure and honor to introduce Robert to all of you.
Currently, I do not have a favorite place. There used to be a spot in a south beach called Van Dykes. It was a restaurant/bar/jazz lounge. It was fresh. I would kick it there several times a month. Good food, good people, good music and good drinks.
Do you like living in Miami? If you were to relocate, where would be that?
Probably San Francisco. I love it there. I feel unreal when I am there.
Do you have any pets? If yes, what are their names?
I have a Dog named Stewie. He is a rescue dog. When I was ready to adopt a dog I went to a local shelter. I remember seeing Stewie and his sister. I liked him a lot. He was very friendly but unfortunately, I did not take him.
A whole week passed and I still thought about him. I felt bad that I did not adopt him. I went back about a week later and his sister was gone but he was still in the shelter. I immediately adopted him and the rest is history.
He is very kind and lovely. Sometimes I feel for him because he cannot speak. I can see a lot of emotion in his eyes. It saddens me.
So Robert, do you write full-time?
Yes, I do, and I am very fortunate to be able to write full-time. I have put in a lot of sweat and blood into writing. Not a lot of people know that I have been writing since 1994. I have written numerous stories.
I have a 650-page book coming out called “A Brilliant Madness.” It a collection of five short stories I have written from circa 2003 to 2007. I am also working on “Gravity”, a novel.
Robert, let’s talk about Spirituality a little bit. Do you believe in God? Life after death?
I am not sure what I believe in. I feel things that I do know of. I have seen things that I do know of. I have a lot of questions regarding the entire religious spectrum. I have had very lucid dreams and experiences that question the ideals of Divinity.
I would like to say “No”, I do not, but something deep inside me tells me to believe and to keep searching. I am not sure what is it but there is something that does not want to eradicate my entire belief in God.
Maybe after all this is a human flaw, to believe that we can only define ourselves until we cannot and then there is a “God” to finish defining whatever it was you could not.
I do believe in life after death. My brother just passed in late August and we have spoken a few times.
Robert, on your Etsy store you mention that you are a sculptor and painter as well. Were you creative since childhood? Do you plan on exhibiting your work in the future?
When I was a child my parents were very poor. They did not have the money to buy me toys. In fact, I would only receive a gift during Christmas time. There were many instances where my father would buy me clay (because it was very cheap) instead of action figures or play guns, etc.
This was the only way I would lose myself. I would use whatever was around me and play. With the clay, I would sculpt action figures and play. When I was outside, I would pick up sticks and play. I was highly imaginative back then. It stillÂ amazes me to see how children use their imagination to getaway.
Imagination is a powerful thing. Some of us keep it and nurture it as we grow and some of us forget we have it.
I paint a lot of things. I do a lot of street art. It is everywhere in Miami and in other cities across the USA. No, I do not exhibit or plan on exhibiting my works. I like my artwork to stay in the streets. It belongs there and I would never want my work to be represented in a gallery. (I have turned down so many requests).
My artwork is free and it is forÂ everyone and it will always be. I would hate for my work to be owned and kept away from everyone who has yet experienced it.
With over 1M+ followers, you are a celebrity on Instagram. Tell us what does it feels like?
It is not real. I am not a celebrity. My work is shared by millions of people but nothing has really changed in my life. I still have the same life and I still live in a shitty apartment. Nothing has changed.
My writing only lives in the digital. It is not realÂ but what is realÂ is the feeling and hope my work gives to people and for that I am grateful. I am very blessed to be in a position where my thoughts and feelings influence a lot of people and that alone is enough to make me feel like my life is worth more than what is it right now.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
No. I believe in lust at first sight. I think that makes more sense to me. The illusion of love at first sight is not real.
Robert M. Drake on Writing
Tell us something about your upcoming novel “Gravity”?
Gravity is a novel that I have been writing since 2013. I do not want to mention too much about it at this time but I can tell you one thing: when you read it, you will lose track of time.
You will feel like you are dying only to reborn within every word. You will see yourself in the characters of the story and you will learn how to fall in love with something other than a person (human being).
The story is a reflection of our spirit and I have been chosen to write such a story. It is beautifully tragic in such a way that EVERYONE will be able to relate to it. This is why it is called Gravity, the attraction/force one we will never be able to break free of.
Can you talk about people or books you have read that have inspired you to embark on your own writing career?
Can you talk about that one defining the moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
I wrote a story called “The Balcony” back in 1999. It was about a girl who jumped off a balcony because she felt so alone and she felt like no one could help her. As morbidly awful as that sounds it actually made the people I showed it to cry.
I knew whatever it was I had in me was special. After that when I was in college, I remember a lot of my professors telling me that I should be a writer. I never stopped writing. It was in my blood and I became obsessed with the idea of writing. Not because I thought it was “cool” but because I felt like I wanted to tell stories; stories that I thought I would like to read as a reader.
I want to capture something and I know I have still not captured what it is that I am trying to capture. If that makes any sense. I would probably feel this way until I die because I am always evolving and what I am trying to define is also evolving. There will never be an end to my work/research. I will never be done.
In your opinion, what is the most difficult part of the writing process?
Trying to write when you do not feel like writing. And that’s all, really it is.
What advice would you give to budding authors?
Write what you know and do not write what others are writing. I understand there are certain things and emotions we all feel and go through. But if you are happy, do not write about hurting. I believe it is best to express what you are feeling at the moment. This way, the expression remains raw and fresh.
I am not saying you cannot write about something you went through last year because you can. But I believe it is best to write about whatever it is that is current. It keeps your feelings relevant to the “now” instead of waiting to write about whatever it is you want to write later.
I would also suggest to keep writing even if you express yourself poorly or if you do not like what you are writing. Keep writing. Do not compare yourself to other writers/authors because none are alike. It will only bring you down.
Also, the more renowned you get, the more recognition you will receive. There will be a lot of love but with praise and love comes hatred. For me, it fuels me to become better. I love it!
I love it when someone tells me my work is terrible. Thank you, I want to write better. I want to write deeper, and I will. I am not going anywhere. So, all of you who judge my work negatively and hate it, thank you. Keep hating; it makes me and my writing better.
Does your poetry carry a particular message or do you write for pleasure?
I do not write poetry. At least to me, I never saw them as “poems”. I write stories; that is all I have ever wanted to do. I do carry a message in my stories and the world has yet to see all that I can do.
These social media “thoughts and messages” are about 5% of what I want to do. I believe, if I play my cards right then I will leave a very powerful message behind when I pass away. I can assure you that.
All the mentions of “her” and “she” in your poems… are there particular people you write about?
They are characters in my stories. And, yes each character is always inspired by someone I know. So yes in a way it is.
What challenges have you had to face in your writing career?
My greatest challenge was probably to get my writing out in front of my readers. It has been a blessing that I have used Social Media to stretch out my thoughts and stories to millions of people.
It is a beautiful thing that I am not enslaved by a publishing company and restricted. I want to show people to not be afraid to fail, and live your dreams. I want to show people that failure is bound to happen but you can succeed. Be free and do what you love. No excuses.
Can someone make living from writing? What advice would you give to struggling artists out there?
Do not sell yourself to a company. Do not let them buy you by offering you a little something you can probably do yourself. You can make money of any product; you just need to present it properly. This is the way the world works. If you are an artist and you want to make a living off your art then study and learn about marketing. It is an entirely different world and a world that might seem too vast to grasp.
This is why a lot of people sign contracts and all. They do not want to deal with the marketing part of their endeavor. But then you are selling your art for a small piece of the cake. Companies will rob you blind and rob you of your work. Do not be a slave. Be your own boss and find the motivation to become so.
Any near term personal goals or long term ambitions?
To live, at least long enough to write a few novels. My brother recently passed away. I know I do not have all the time in the world. My goal is to live a little longer.
Where do you think you will be after 25 years?
I cannot see that far into the future. I am sorry.
Robert M. Drake: Just for Fun
What is your favorite English word?
What is your least favorite word?
Can you talk about a fan encounter that completely took you by surprise?
One time I was doing street art and a bunch of people came up to me because they saw what I was doing and it caught their interest. When they saw what I had put up they freaked out, and then I freaked out. I do not know how I feel about being exposed. This is why I like to remain in the shadows.
If a film is made on you, who would play your role?
I am not sure. I do not watch too much TV or movies. I do not own a TV and I have not had cable since 2012. I’m not into TV or movies; I don’t know a lot of actors so I feel like I cannot answer this properly. I’m sorry.
So you might know that Khloe Kardashian and several other Celebrities follow you on Instagram. Have you met Khloe in person?
Khloe is fresh. I love her and that is all I want to mention about that.
Do you like going to the zoo?
I have not been in a long time. But it is okay.
What do you do when not writing or painting?
Drinking. Sometimes I have to live a little to remove the heaviness pilling up from the inside.
On what do you spend the most: clothes, accessories, perfumes, underwear, food, etc.?
I do not spend much money. I was poor all my life. I guess in a way I am not attached to anything materialistic but if I must say I do like spending on other people. It makes me feel good about myself.
What were your friend’s and family’s reactions to your success? Were they surprised, appreciative, happy? Tell us a little more about it?
No one actually knows. I do not like telling too much about my work to the people I am close. It might change people and I like to protect the very few people I have left. I do not let any new person in my life; that is all.
Do you have a nickname?
My friends call me Bobby.
I hope you enjoyed this interview with R.M. Drake as much as I did preparing and putting it out. Since you are already here, let me tell you a secret. You can subscribe to the Naked Soul letters (see top right of the page) to receive exclusive contents, informative posts and fun-entertaining articles.
Also, please tell me, who would you want me to interview next? Please comment below. Do not forget to follow Robert @rmdrk and Naked Soul @naked_soul_poems on Instagram.